Opinion: Compulsory HIV Testing Will Attract More Stigma & Discrimination

By Joe Mwansa Lombe Kaluba

I am yet to read the full statement on the issue of making the testing for HIV mandatory.

From what l am seeing on social media it seems people are very excited and some making foolish jokes about it.

The problem in Zambia is that we make jokes about everything. Yes humor is food for the soul. However believe me some of it is just childish and stupid.

People make fun of people who face different challenges. The poor, physically challenged, mentally challenged and people who have HIV. My heart bleeds when l see this.

Some people use jokes as a new face of stigma. In social media people have found a way of getting at others. This is not wise but foolishness and lack of reasoning.

When the news about making HIV testing compulsory broke Instead of seeing a real debate about the pros and cons. All l could see were childish jokes. To me stigmatisation has already started.

I know it is important for one to know not only their HIV status just like any health status. But l think the first things we need to do is to work on the mindsets of everyone.

Making or forcing people means we have failed on the part of education. Making it mandatory means we have no capacity to teach our young people about preventive methods.

You can’t force people to go for HIV testing. It should come from them. Then as l said education.

Putting fear in people is Do a good preventive methodology. It will just make people fear to go to the hospital even when they have a simple toothache.

We should put all our energies in dealing with issues of stigma and discrimination. We should put more effort in research and help find the cure. We should try to seek to deal with preventive measures like the control of drinking places which are probably the breeding places for HIV.

Further more we should seek to create decent jobs for our young people. Night Clubs, bars will put our young girls at risk.

These are the things we should be talking about. Not programs which are just copied and pasted in our country. Some of these foreign programs don’t have anything good for our people. So we ought to be careful.

In some of these countries a referendum would be called to determine something like the issue at hand.

But here it is just copy and paste. What next after this mandatory HIV and testing? Stigma and discrimination as people will be required to go with test certificate when looking for a job or school place.

All this is happening in a number of countries. So for me it is a shame and lack of reasoning by those who are in the fore front of this law or whatever you wanna call it.

Families will be torn apart, society will be full of stigma and the country will be a big Court which will sentence people to death.

Policies and rules are nothing. Therapy, education and not putting fear in people are more important.

And those of you using jokes and social media as a way of getting at people with different challenges or HIV status. Shame on you.

The author is a PhD candidate-Political, Gender and Transnational Studies at the International Postgraduate Centre (IPC), Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt


  1. benjamin

    mmmmmmmm !!!!!!!

  2. chypo

    i think zambia wil record more death than eva b4 bcoz pipo wil b runin away frm clincs nd hospitals 4 th fear of bn tested

  3. Aaron Zimba

    This is a very well articulated article. ls this voluntary testing meant to let people know that so and so is HIV positive so beware of him or her? lmagine the stigma that would follow after that. The social media would have a field day feasting on the victims of stigma and that would be a very big discouragement to others wishing to go for the same voluntary testing. Intensive sensitisation can work better than forcing people for testing.

  4. UK

    Some times we have to think critically before implementing a policy.. Not always wanting to make news that the Zambian president makes Hiv testing compulsory.. That was wrong..it has to be voluntary..

  5. Collins c pop

    Lack of knowledge people perish!

  6. N. C

    Already people in rural areas are reluctant to visit healthy facilities, imposing such issues to people will increase fear in them, and that’s not helping poor people in rural community please am appealing to authorities not to subject such acts to people.

  7. Vic

    There’s nothing wrong in his testing being compulsory. Do you complain when you are tested for malar

    • FUCK U


  8. Emmanuel

    Am not against compulsory testing otherwise it is good. My problem is confidentiality by hospital staff. Many are bad at this

  9. ndindindi

    Comment. Ba Vic,how many of your relatives are HIV positive, you only know a few,now how are you going to feel that 3/4 of your relatives are positive… Your face will always be miserable,,,, think bwana.



  11. one zeck

    I am very dissapointed with some of the comments, with HIV or without HIV people still die. When u test, u will know how u are going to take extra care of your healthy, for instance u are a family person, u will need to plan for your family & HIV doesn’t come only through sexual but through blood contamination & other ways, so you will not know until you do the test. Why being afraid guys. Stand up & lets build a better Zambia, there will never going to be another Zambia, so let’s know our health status, so that we plan for period left for our life as well as for the people to be left still living.

  12. The

    The idear is good

  13. miles

    its all good..that way we will prevent new infections …and govt will be able to properly focust hw much money is required for our life saving drugs..stigma my…a..s

  14. tabi

    Comment The idea was going to make sense if there was cure. Many people will die at their homes in fear of going to hospitals . The govt should revist this issue.

    • Lizzy

      When will this nightmare end. From one nightmare to another. Zambia is no longer a country for people who are free. Its my prayer that God will remember our Country & set us free.

  15. Joe

    80% , of zambian population, pipo their living with HIV+. to start with mr changwa.

    • Sj

      Where do you draw your Statistics from and how factual are you? Social media is read by people Far and Wide as the world has become a global village. This is an alarming percentage.

  16. JOJO

    Comment MR PRESIDENT you have many things to do now why are you concetrated on hiv testing?

  17. Friday

    Why ar u so bitter… Or maybe u Hav it.

  18. umuntu mutwe

    Kkkkkkkkk why fear you your self and what you do

  19. comfort

    We will record more death

  20. steezy

    Nice article… what is the whole point of this mandatory testing

  21. The

    Why fearing people of Zambia to know your stutas

  22. andisen


  23. wallack mwanza

    Comment Mmmm anyway! Its a good take up…

  24. LIYB

    why doing all this it is your personal will to know your status you have rights remember,remember you cannot force a donkey to drink water if the donkey wants to drink water it will bt if it donot want then leav it God help us

  25. Best

    Why fearing for your own life and health. Just go and get tested mwebantu it’s your life. Even if u test positive it’s not the end of the world.

  26. Mwaba fidelis

    Otherwise let’s let the government work whatever they want ,we are in the dictatorship nothing we can say that they can understand.

  27. mrs lungu

    I was jast passing through

  28. David mwelwa

    I like all thing

  29. Draco

    Olo ukambe so TIPIMA!

  30. G Black

    Olo ukambe so. …..TIPIMA!

  31. AAZ

    Its a gud idea but it wil even cause the infected ones to spread it more

  32. Manje

    This world z the process of our thinking so for it to change we first have to change the way we think….. And this shud start with the pipo who make decisions on our behalf…… Am very disappointed with the policy of mandatory testing…. Instead of coming up with things that can alleviate poverty in our country mulecitafye fimbi fimbi……..and u think Trump can stop

  33. Manje

    This world z the process of our thinking so for it to change we first have to change our mindsets…….For u pipo who make decisions in our behalf calm harder ,try to come up with policies dat can help in alleviating poverty in our country…….Buh u ar there stigmatising yo relatives……at last I came to conclude that Donard Trump z not a bad person he only hits someone with facts…..some leaders kuwaya wayafye

  34. Inonge

    Joe,your article is good, HIV should be voluntary not forcing. Zambia will record high deaths in our rural areas for this will put more fear in them and reasons for not visiting hospitals. Too bad!

  35. Mk

    Did you know that this testing thing is already componsary to pregnant women?

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