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Public urged to check HIV status

2011-07-21 22:25:51
This article has been read 673 times.

The National Association of People living with HIV/AIDS has appealed to members to openly declare their status and act to reduce stigmatisation.

The call was made in Bolgatanga to mark the Global Aids Week of Action, sponsored by ActionAid Ghana on the theme: “Touching lives reaffirms the commitment to fight the HIV Epidemic”.

It is a global event celebrated by HIV/AIDS activists and civil society organizations (CSOs) to discuss issues bordering on the lives of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), access to Anti-retroviral Drugs (ARD), care and support.

It is also a period to remind leaders world-wide of their commitment to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Miss Linda Mensah, a NAP+ member, who spoke on challenges being faced by members, said: “it is time to change the face of HIV and openly disclose our status for people to know us instead of being afraid of stigmatization.”

She said the fear of suffering stigmatization and discrimination against members remained indoors resulting in the situation whereby a few people presented their cases.

Narrating their experiences at various anti-retroviral clinics, Miss Mensah said people who knew the days PLWHA visited the hospital, deliberately went to there to observe and point fingers at them.

She condemned people who stigmatize PLWHA and asked the members not to be deterred by such acts, saying “we are in a better situation because we know our status”.

Miss Mensah cautioned members to live positive lifestyles to prolong their lives and said: “We are better off than those who do not know their status and want to discriminate against us”.

She appealed to stakeholders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to step up education on HIV/AIDS, particularly in the remote areas to help console those who suffer rejection and stigmatization as a result of their condition.

Madam Esther Boateng, the National HIV/AIDs Coordinator of Action Aid Ghana, an NGO, said the organization would support people living with the disease to eradicate poverty in the world.

She said the NGO needed to identify challenges being faced by People Living With HIV/AIDS.

Madam Boateng said the NGO would continue to provide platforms for PLWHA to make their voices heard.

She asked members of NAP to “Act as ambassadors, to fight the disease and not spread it”, and encouraged participants to bring their experiences to the fore at the meeting.

Mr James Buamah, Upper East Regional Programme Manager, Action Aid Ghana, said: “when we touch lives, we accept every one as they are without tramping on other people’s fundamental rights”.


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