At first, the Muslim community saw her as an outcast. Now she’s viewed as a role model. Since then, religious leaders have also started talking about HIV and Aids, realising that Muslims are not immune.
The Jamiatul Ulema (organisation of Muslim scholars), Islamic Relief, a global charity organisation, and Islamic Careline, a counselling helpline, joined forces to start the Muslim Aids Programme; recognising that Muslims are in need of counselling and support.
But how do Muslims view the virus, and what are their attitudes toward other Muslims living with HIV?
A Facebook discussion made it clear some feel it’s an important topic which must be discussed.
And a stroll through the Oriental Plaza in Fordsburg, Johannesburg, revealed a surprising lack of judgement.
To get a sense of the Muslim community’s attitudes toward HIV, Bibi-Aisha Wadvalla spoke to several Muslims of all ages to gauge how they view Muslims living with HIV.
She asked what they think of calls from religious scholars and counselling groups for HIV testing to be compulsory before the Muslim marriage ceremony can be performed.
The consensus is HIV needs to be openly addressed and dealt with without stigma.