Lesotho Prime Minister Undergoes Public HIV Test, Calls on Other African Leaders to Be Tested to Reduce AIDS Stigma
March 10, 2004
Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili on Saturday underwent a public HIV test and called on other African leaders to do the same to reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, Reuters reports. Thabang Motsoasele, director of information for the prime minister's office, said that Mosisili took the test to demonstrate that "there is nothing to fear about testing for HIV/AIDS." He added that Mosisili has called on his cabinet ministers, senior civil servants and members of the Southern African Development Community to "lead by example" by taking an HIV test, according to Reuters. Mosisili said in a statement, "We have to turn a crisis into an opportunity by launching a far-reaching program to fight HIV/AIDS," adding, "Knowing one's status will help stop the pandemic from spreading to those who have not yet been infected at the same time as assisting those who are already infected to live longer, and better quality lives." Limakatso Chisepo, director of social welfare for the country's Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, lauded Mosisili for being tested, saying, "It shows people there is nothing bad about testing. He has removed the stigma that people put on knowing one's HIV/AIDS status." He added, "This really shows leadership, and I hope all leaders countrywide will follow suit." In addition to Mosisili, whose test result has not been announced, the country's Catholic Archbishop Bernard Mohalisi also underwent a test for HIV, according to country officials. About 31% of Lesotho's adult population is estimated to be HIV-positive (Thai, Reuters, 3/8).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.