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18.08.2003 Regional News

People living with HIV/AIDS have right to confidentiality

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Kumasi, Aug. 18, GNA - Miss Modesta Bokuma, Deputy Director of Administration and Focal Person of HIV/AIDS, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), has said that People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) have a right to confidentiality which must be respected by all. This, she said, places a heavy responsibility on all who work with PLWHA, including caregivers and providers of Voluntary Testing and Counselling Services (VTCS) because any breach on their part could be costly to them.

Miss Bokuma was speaking on: "The Socio-Economic Dimensions of the Disease" at the inauguration of HIV/AIDS awareness programme by the Faith For Ghana Ministries, a Christian non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Kumasi on Sunday.

She said AIDS awareness programmes must include the transformation of negative judgemental attitudes towards people living with HIV/AIDS. She said the public should accept the fact that HIV/AIDS is a disease just like all other diseases.

"HIV/AIDS is with us and what we need to do is to step up our activities on behavioural change communications so that people will actually begin to translate the messages that they receive about the disease into practice", she said.

The Focal Person appealed to the government to support traditional medical practitioners, who have been able to develop products, which are on record to be very effective in bringing relief to PLWHA at a reduced cost.

"If these people are given the needed assistance, they would be able to improve upon the quality of their preparations and make them more accessible to the people who need them", she said.

Miss Elizabeth Adu-Boahen, a Health Worker at the Suntreso Hospital STDs Unit, said the mode of infection was largely through unprotected sex with those through the use of contaminated needles and blades and mother-to-child transmission accounting for a small percentage of it. She said drastic measures should be taken to halt the spread of the disease.

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