A pioneer in the fight against AIDS
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS discrimination in Nigeria in conjunction with
insufficient medical resources has made it difficult for rural communities
to establish not only systems of support, but provide essential medical
care to People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA). Assumpta Ngozika Reginald
(33), founder of 'Womankind Nigeria for women living with HIV/AIDS' in
2005, did not just become a community advocate against discrimination,
but became a voice for all of those who have been repressed or discriminated
against as a result of their contraction of HIV/AIDS. Assumpta went before
her community and country at great personal risk through newspaper, radio,
and television interviews to discuss life with HIV/AIDS. She has courageously
lent her face to the fight to end ignorance and intolerance within a male
culture that believes HIV/AIDS can be seen on the face.
Living in a society that is defined by male sexuality,
Nigerian women and girls are at a high risk of infection resulting from
traditional practices of female genital mutilation, wife inheritance,
childhood marriage, and strong expectations of loyalty and obedience toward
husbands – even if it is not reciprocated. In response, Assumpta
strives to increase community understanding while promoting prevention
techniques to those who are not infected. Prior to her work through Womankind
Nigeria, Assumpta has worked with the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS
(NEPWHAN) as national treasurer and mobilization officer.
Assumpta has dedicated her life to helping PLHA. Her goals: create universal
access to life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), strengthen outreach
through prevention and testing in rural areas, and fight for the prevention
of mother/child transmission of HIV/AIDS. Through Womankind Nigeria, she
supports approximately 200 women monthly to have access to psychological
support structures, home based and palliative care,insecticide treated
nets, water purifiers, nutrition supplements, and life saving skills training.
She improves her community daily through positive information dissemination,
counseling, confidential HIV/AIDS testing, and through her positive presence
as a voice for those affected by it.