STIGMA FORCES HIV PATIENTS TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES – According to FIDA Research
6/24/2012 7:36:32 PM -
A study conducted by International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) with funding from UN Women on stigma and discrimination against People Living With HIV and AIDS has revealed that some women moved away from their marital homes or their communities in order to avoid being humiliated and abused.
The study further shown that the wrong perception held about HIV and AIDS as a condition that will inevitably lead to death, is a major threat to infected women's access to property especially in cases where their husbands predecease them. The phenomenon is believed to be widespread in the Brong-Ahafo region according to the research.
This came to light during a day's Policy Dialogue Meeting on key issues pertaining to access to property and inheritance rights of women living with or affected by HIV and AIDS held at Abesim near Sunyani.
More than 30 participants attended the meeting organized by International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Ghana with funding from UN Women under its project 'Increasing Access to the Property and Inheritance Rights of Women Living With and Affected by HIV and AIDS in Ghana.
Speaking at the Meeting, the Project Co-ordinator of FIDA Ghana, Benedicta Laryae said In Ghana, structural inequalities have prevented a substantial number of women from accessing their property and inheritance and caused the HIV epidemic to disproportionately burden them. She even though the law officially provides protection from women's property and inheritance rights, in practice many suffers discrimination on a regular basis. The study,
Miss Laryae said sought to explore local perceptions trends regarding property related practices and seeks to document structural inequalities and challenges hindering women living with HIV from accessing property and inheritance.
The Project Co-ordinator mentioned gender discrimination, stigma and discrimination, lack of interest and fear of superstition, misperception of HIV and AIDS as well as misperception about human rights institutions as some the structural inequalities impeding HIV patients access to property and inheritance.
The research also confirms that traditional beliefs around inheritance as well as broad socio-economic and gender barriers may affect the property and inheritance rights of women Living With HIV and AIDS.
Customary marriage requirements, Miss Laryae noted represent a major barrier to women's access to property and therefore stressed the need for planned cooperation between traditional leaders and lawmakers to review existing customs and reduce requirements to enable women attain full marital status.
The participants at the meeting called for intensification of human rights education at the grass-root level.