Tiwale – Rising out from the shadow of HIV

front cover comic Tiwale
Last updated on: 27 February 2024

Tiwale: A comic book for reducing self-stigma among young people living with HIV

Comics have the potential to entertain, educate, connect and inspire many people. Therefore, in close collaboration with young people living with HIV in Malawi, a comic book was jointly developed to support young people living with HIV by reducing self-stigma and enhancing positive living and confidence in disclosing their HIV status.

The comic follows the story of Tiwale, a young girl from Malawi with dreams of becoming a football player. As she discovers that she is living with HIV, she learns to overcome her challenges with the support of her family and friends. This project investigates how the comic book is received by young people with HIV in Malawi and its effectiveness in improving their attitudes and behavior, with hopes of reaching more young people with similar concerns of living with HIV.


Stigma and discrimination continue to be at the forefront of challenges experienced by young people living with HIV in Malawi. The internalization of shame and other negative attitudes associated with one’s HIV status is called ‘self-stigma,’ which is often associated with reduced treatment adherence, self-esteem and confidence. The Coalition of Women Living with HIV and AIDS (COWLHA) holds support groups for young people living with HIV in Mangochi and Chikwawa districts. Studies from the support groups revealed that young people’s self-image and mental health have been negatively impacted by their community’s stigmatizing values.

Production of the comic book was made possible by Aidsfonds, the Coalition Of Women Living with HIV/AIDS and the Comics For Safety Foundation.