Being a widow and at the same time HIV positive in Malawi is hell to some women . If one is a widow, life becomes unbearable for such a person to live as she is segregated among the community in most parts of Malawi.
The myth that a widow is evil, dirty and can not do anything in society is what such women go through when they lose their spouses. It doesn't matter how the husband died but as long as you are a widow, well people turn to look at you as a bother, unwanted and not useful to the community. Coupled with HIV, it all makes the situation worse for a woman who has lost her husband due to HIV.
Stigma and discrimination is still on the increase in Malawi . Women who are HIV positive and widows find life very tough to live in a community as they are called all sorts of names, and worse still denied access to social ammenities provided by organizations and government too.
Women who are HIV positive and widows in Malawi's districts of Dowa, Ntcheu and Mchinji, Mzimba, Nkhatabay, Karonga, Rumphi and Chitipa in the northern part of Malawi are denied to access land for farming because they are deemed as useless, dead who will just waste resources provided by government and other organizations for needy people.
Recently, four women in Dowa district, the central part of Malawi were denied access to farm inputs provided by government because they are hiv positive and widows. This caused alarm among women organizations like the Coalition for women living with HIV/AIDS which is fighting for hiv positive women rights together with the widows. The organizations is fighting for widows rights and every day they are new cases of women being denied land, chased from their homes, property grabbing on the increase too.
Worse still, chiefs in urban areas of Malawi are on the fore front segregating widows, HIV positive women from any developmental programmes taking place in their areas. This is really sad, because some of the widows are living positive because they got the aids virus from their husbands and not that they were prostitutes. I find life very tough and very bad to treat widows in such away, they did not choose to lose their husbands, neither did they apply to get the aids virus.
Its something that needs to be stopped and voiced out, women have rights just like any body else whether positive or not. They should received social ammenities just like any body else. Women can not access their own land for farming and it becomes worse if the woman is a widow and HIV positive.
The fight is still on to protect widows rights so that they live a healthy life just like anybody else. I hope the more we talk about such issues, they will come to an end one day.