Leading African HIV/AIDS activist to give public lecture

Published: Wednesday | April 15, 2009

WINSTONE ZULU, one of Africa's best-known advocates for awareness and action on HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB), is visiting the University of the West Indies' Mona Campus this month.

Zulu will visit on April 16 and 17, and will deliver a public lecture at 6 p.m. on April 16 at the Chemistry Lecture Theatre (C5) on the Mona Campus.

A compelling force in global campaigns against HIV/AIDS, Zulu has worked tirelessly to promote HIV/AIDS prevention and improve access to treatment for TB, the leading cause of death among persons with HIV/AIDS.

Zulu feels that learning some of the fact-finding and storytelling skills of journalism will better enable him to carry out his work.

As the first person in his home country of Zambia to publicly acknowledge his HIV-positive status, Zulu has become the pre-eminent global activist on the increasing spread of TB in the developing world and its implications for persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Zulu, the sixth of 13 children, was diagnosed with polio at the age of three. Living with HIV since 1990, he contracted TB and was cured of it in 1997.

Zulu always wanted to be a writer. When he discovered he had HIV, his immediate response was to write poetry. After receiving counselling on how to live with his diagnosis, he decided to share the information with others.

Indifferent attitude

At a recent lecture, Zulu talked about society's indifferent attitude toward people with disabilities and how they are marginalised. Zulu wants to demonstrate that, although he has a disability, he's no different than anyone else and that there's no reason to discriminate.

He also said people with disabilities are often left out of AIDS campaigns because people find it hard to believe that disabled people can transmit the disease. People with disabilities want to be included in all aspects of society, Zulu explained. He believes awareness is key in teaching the public not to see people with disabilities as different.