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Acting Director-General of the Ghana AIDs Commission has called on politicians and other reputable persons living with HIV to reveal their status tp help reduce stigmatisation against People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) in Ghana.
Kyereme Atuahene, speaking to PM Express’ host Evans Mensah on Tuesday cited the British Member of Parliament (MP) Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who revealed his HIV status in a move to tackle stigma.
“To curl stigma, takes only courage on the part of the person living with HIV to really declare their status and live normal life, until that happens stigma will continue,” he stated.
He continued, “We have politicians, celebrities, men and women in the media, lawyers, doctors, chiefs who live with HIV; they should lead the way for people to follow. Let’s encourage them because HIV is now a chronic disease.”
The Ghana AIDS Commission on Sunday, World AIDS day revealed that 170,000 adults HIV/AIDS are not on treatment. The number, they say, accounts for more than 50% of persons living with HIV in the country.
Mr Atuahene blamed Ghana’s complacency and unwillingness to prioritise HIV/AIDS on the rapid spread of the virus in the country.
“We need to look at the issues now because as a country we have come a long way,” he said.
He further disclosed that the Commission in its bid to curb stigma against PLHIV have set plans on course to use community mode to distribute HIV Antiretroviral (AVRs) to curb
“This removes the stigma associated with HIV clinics. So now we have a new stream of service delivery in some of the hospitals like Dixcove, Sunyani Regional Hospital, they have integrated approach where all chronic diseases have one clinic. And those chronic diseases include HIV, so you go in there you do not know who has what,” he said.
According to the Acting Director-General, it is illegal for pharmacists to administer or sell AVRs medicines to PLHIV since this will undermine government’s objective to make it affordable and accessible.
“It is not just about giving out the drug, it is also making sure that the patient tolerates the drug, it is also making sure that the patient is monitored on regular basis to ensure that the vital organs are all functioning normally” he explained.
He also revealed that women are disproportionately affected by HIV adding that in Ghana 65% of PLHIV are women.
“The goal is to end HIV/AIDS by 2030 and we must work together to achieve the 90-90-90 target,” Mr Atuahene advised.