News / Africa

HIV-Positive Liberians Fight Workplace Discrimination

HIV-positive people in Liberia say they are being discriminated against in the workplace. AIDS counselors say that is adding to depression and isolation.

In a country where official unemployment tops 80 percent, it is hard for anyone in Liberia to find a job. But people who are HIV-positive say it is even more difficult for them because many employers refuse to hire people who have the virus that causes AIDS.

"We are very troubled about this situation," said Samuel Thompson. "Things are really getting hard on us. Every time we are denied jobs. Our families are suffering. And we are neglected by our own people. We don't know what to do."

Samuel Thompson is HIV positive. He says not being able to provide for their families adds to the stress of Liberians who have contracted the virus.

"Why should we be treated in such a manner as if to say we are not human beings? We too are human beings," he said. "We are angry about this."

HIV counselor Smith Sando says the public rejection of job discrimination further isolates HIV-positive Liberians and can lead to deep depression.

"There is a need for the individual who is HIV positive to understand the issue of neglect, the issue of stigma," said Smith Sando. "Now, it is not a stigma that is coming from outside. It is not a stigma that is coming from a friend or the family. It is a stigma that is coming from within the individual."

Sando says his clinic helps people learn how to live with the virus and how to cope with a society that largely excludes them.

"If they have accepted, firstly, accepted their status and understand that, yes, they need to survive," he said. "They need to kind of free their mind that, yes, they are HIV positive. They should not worry about what society thinks about them."

As a high-school drop-out with HIV, Larry Teah says he has no chance to find a job in a society where he says HIV-positive Liberians are treated as if they are from another world.

"People are discussing our conditions as if to say we are from the evil forest," said Larry Teah. "We want to live. We are often denied jobs. We have been neglected and abandoned by family members. We have no more hope. Something needs to be done about this."

Counselor Sando says ending job discrimination against HIV-positive Liberians begins with basic education about how the virus is spread.

"People do not understand what it is," said Sando. "They just think that if somebody has it, when you shake their hand you are going to get it. No. It is not. Even eating with a person you are not going to get it. So if people understand how HIV can be transmitted, obviously they will be able to live with anybody in their home. They can be able to work with the person."

The World Health Organization estimates that more than 35,000 Liberians are HIV positive. More than three-quarters of those infected are women.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid