Don’t trample on the right of people living with HIV – VR C’ttee of the Ghana Aids C’ssion

Dr Letsa (front, middle) and some members of the committee and Justice Baah, (front, left)

Dr Letsa (front, middle) and some members of the committee and Justice Baah, (front, left)

THE newly-inaugurated Volta Regional Committee of the Ghana AIDS Commission has warned that any unruly member of the public who antagonises or tramples on the rights of people living with HIV, will suffer swift consequences under the law.

The Regional Minister, Dr. Archibald Yao Letsa who is chairman of the nine-member commission said that stigma and discrimination towards people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS are still pervasive in the region and that could undermine HIV testing service in the in the various communities.

He said that last year a total 80,444 people in the region came forward to test voluntarily for HIV as against 49,502 people in the previous year.

Furthermore, Dr.Letsa said that the region saw a drop of HIV prevalence from 2.7 per cent in 2016 to 2.3 in 2017 among pregnant women attending ante-natal care for the first time in their current pregnancy.

“However, we need to do more to reduce this prevalence further as we seek to eliminate mother-to-child transmission in the region in line with national targets”, he stated.

Dr.Letsa identified the region’s youthful population, migratory patterns, some cultural practices, poverty and ignorance among other factors driving the epidemic in the region, in addition to the stigma and discrimination.

That notwithstanding, he said that it was gratifying to note that the Ghana AIDS Commission Act had provisions to penalise people who stigmatised persons living with and affected by HIV.

Dr.Letsa also touched on dwindling funding for HIV and AIDS activities and entreated the committee to find innovative ways of complementing government’s efforts in making funding available.

Mr. Justice Eric Baah, a High Court Judge who performed the swearing-in ceremony, advised the committee to seek the advice of lawyers promptly in cases in which the rights of people living with HIV were violated for the law to take its course.

The committee is comprised of a representative each from the Regional Directorate of Health Services, Network of Persons Living HIV (NAP+), Civil Society Organization in HIV and Federation of Muslims and Ahmadiyya Mission.

The other representatives on the committee are from the Volta Region House of Chiefs, Regional Directorate of Education and the Regional Technical Coordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission.

A date will be set later to swear in the representative of the Regional Directorate of Health Services.

FROM ALBERTO MARIO NORETTI, HO

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