My visit to the HIV and AIDS clinic was short.
The clinic did not have a ward, but rather a couple of consultation rooms and a common waiting area.
The three most important messages I left with were:
- The majority of people suffering of an HIV infection look perfectly healthy. And that is scary considering how many people all over the world do no take precaution thinking that they will be able to tell whether someone is infected or not.
- HIV and AIDS constitute a social stigma more for women rather than men in Tanzania; again a reflection of gender inequality.
- While a person suffering of HIV/AIDS in a Western country can have the same life expectancy as a healthy individual, can proceed to have a family and generally have a close to normal lifestyle, people in Tanzania live a much shorter of of lower quality life, and do not have the same lifestyle opportunities due to the fact that they cannot afford the medication and do not have the same access to healthcare as people in wealthier and more privileged countries.
Even though HIV infections are on the fall in Tanzania, it still angers me how people’s lives are often dictated by pure luck of where they are born and live.