4. What not to do: Do no harm and other common mistakes

  • Interventions aimed at improving the welfare of orphans must not exclude children whose parents are still alive, though ailing.
  • Compromises should not be taken in regard to condom quality. Good-quality condoms are essential both for the protection of the consumer and the credibility of the relief programme. If the condoms are of good initial quality, are protected with impermeable foil packaging and are properly stored (protected from rain and sun, in particular), they are likely to retain much of their original quality.
  • Not being aware of the culturally sensitivities of the beneficiaries can lead to inappropriate services, which are more likely to cause negative reactions rather than achieve the desired impact.
  • Treatment for patients should not be withheld until they attend with their partner. Patients should be counselled to tell their partner(s) to come for treatment.
  • There is no justification for excluding drug users from HIV/AIDS treatment. Drug users should have equitable access to the same HIV/AIDS treatment and care offered to other individuals infected with HIV.
  • There should be no discrimination against workers on the basis of real or perceived HIV status. Discrimination and stigmatisation of people living with HIV/AIDS inhibits efforts aimed at promoting HIV/AIDS prevention-if people are frightened of the possibility of discrimination, they may conceal their status and are more likely to pass on the infection to others. Moreover, they are not likely to seek treatment and counselling.