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Children of Zimbabweans Disclosing HIV Status Also Face Bias

Many consider public disclosure of one's HIV-positive status to be a laudable act, as it helps fight the stigma and discrimination that often accompany HIV infection. But such disclosures have serious implications for other family members,say the children of two HIV-positive Zimbabweans - who now love and admire their parents all the more.

Farai Mahaso is the son of the late Auxilia Chimsoro, who in 1989 became the first Zimbabwean to make her HIV-status public. More than a decade later, Farai concedes that at first he did not support his mother’s decision to disclose her status - urging her at one point to tell people instead that she had become the victim of a witch's curse.

Sixteen-year-old Olivea Kusemwha, daughter of HIV-AIDS activist Tendai Westerhof, says she, too, felt embarrassment when her mother announced her status.

Correspondent Derek Moyo of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with both these children of prominent HIV-positive parents about their changed perspectives.

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