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Graca Machel: Elders need to stop abuse, stigma around Aids

She says unless these prejudices are overcome, there will be no solution to beating the disease.

FILE: Graca Machel. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Former First Lady Graca Machel says elders in communities should stop creating and promoting stereotypes, which only hinders efforts to fight Human Immuno Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (Aids).

Machel was speaking at the International Aids Conference in Durban.

South Africa is hosting the conference for the second time since 2000.

Doctors, politicians, activists, researchers, public health experts and even celebrities have travelled to the International Convention Centre in Durban to try find better ways to fight the deadly virus, which has claimed millions of lives.

Research has shown that South Africa has the biggest and highest profile HIV pandemic in the world with infections among the youth, especially women, accounting for the highest percentage of new infections.

Machel says the abuse and stigma directed at people living with the virus, especially by elders, needs to stop.

"We, the adults, are the ones who are carrying a lot of the preconceptions."

Yesterday, South African actress Charlize Theron made a moving speech in which she said the world valued straight lives more than gay lives and men more than women while Aids didn't discriminate.

She said unless these prejudices are overcome, there would be no solution to beating the disease.

WATCH: TAC: TAlk of ending Aids misleading

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