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05.02.2005 General News

Don't discriminate against us - AIDS sufferer

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Sekondi, Feb. 5, GNA - Mr. Charles Aikins, a person living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) said discrimination, unfair treatment by society and a general disregard for such victims could increase the spread of the disease.

He said the continued use of negative names to describe the disease, coupled with the neglect of victims by their families and communities could make them more stressful, revengeful and eager to spread the virus among innocent people.

"The use of abusive language, total neglect and apathy of the society towards us should change for the better while victims should be included in all social activities," Mr Aikins said an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sekondi at the weekend.

Mr. Aikins who was diagnosed with the disease in 2000 said compassion; recognition and acceptance had made it easier for him to live, adding that there were about 1,000 PLWHA in Ghana who did not know their status.

He said PLWHAs need constant financial support, balanced diet, companion and love to assist them to adjust to their new health situation in life.

"If society continues to avoid us by excluding us from all social activities and we become lonely, our plight could worsen and our recovery would delay," he said.

Mr. Aikins advised PLWHAs to take their medication seriously, avoid re-infection and participate in social activities to reduce boredom and loneliness.

He appealed to the Churches, organisations and communities to encourage their members to undertake voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to enable them know their status and minimise the spread of the disease.

"Counselling is very important and should be included in all activities of such groups because some people have the virus but because they do not know, they go about re-infecting others and thereby negating ongoing educational awareness on the disease," he added.

Mr. Aikins appealed to chiefs to serve as channels for spreading HIV/AIDS messages and assist HIV/AIDS victims living in their communities.

He expressed regret that some landlords were evicting PLWHAs from their homes due to the wrong perceptions they have about disease and its mode of spread.

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