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08.06.2005 General News

Create conditions that would make people declare their HIV status

GNA

Tepa (Ash.), June 8, GNA - Mr Ben Owusu Afriyie, Ahafo-Ano North District HIV/AIDS Focal Person, has called on Ghanaians to help create conditions that would encourage those living with the deadly HIV/AIDS infection to openly declare their health status. He noted that those with the infection would continue to go underground if frowned upon, isolated and made objects of public ridicule.

Mr Afriyie was speaking at the opening of a day's advocacy workshop on Stigmatisation and Discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS in the District at Tepa. It was jointly organised by the Ghana Aids Commission and the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC). In attendance were more than 40 participants made up of Chiefs, Heads of Department, Teachers and other opinion leaders.

Mr Afriyie said it was important that AIDS patients were made to feel wanted and loved by the society, adding that that would help them to lead normal lives and live longer. He said he was not particularly happy about the indifference shown by many people towards the pandemic and their indulgence in casual and unsafe sex. That, he said, was making the fight to control the spread of the infection in the country difficult.

Mr Samuel Ofori Boakye, Ashanti Regional Manager of ISODEC, spoke of the need for the country to be more serious in its efforts at reducing poverty, pointing out that, this was necessary to help to slow down the infection rate He told the participants to be at the forefront of the campaign against discrimination and stigmatisation of HIV/AIDS patients.

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