The United State President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Ghana on Tuesday took its Anti -Stigma and Discrimination Campaign on HIV to Hwediem in the Ahafo Region.
Held on the theme, “Reaching epidemic control by 2030”, the programme was aimed at educating the public on ending stigmatisation against Persons Living With HIV (PLWA).
The event was attended by traditional rulers, union leaders, selected students from basic and senior high schools, journalists, health professionals, government officials and partners of PEPFAR among others.
Rev John Azumah, an HIV/AIDS Ambassador and a person living with HIV, recounted how he lost the entire membership of his church, his family was divided and friends frowned at him after making his HIV status public.
The HIV Ambassador noted that PLWA could attain longer lifespan upon continual management of the disease saying “I have lived with HIV for the past 21 years but I am still strong and handsome”
Rev Azumah implored residents to protect themselves from the pandemic through abstinence from sex, being faithful to sex partners, the use of condom and intensive education among others.
The Asutifi South District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Robert Dwomoh Mensah, underscored the need to end stigma and discrimination on PLWA for a sustainable development of the Ahafo Region.
He said though the campaign on HIV/AIDS had reduced drastically over the years, its causes, symptoms and effects were unchanged, and urged the public to strictly follow all the preventive measures.
The Asutifi South DCE entreated religious leaders, government officials, journalists, opinion leaders, and caregivers among other stakeholders to factor the education on HIV coupled and COVID -19 in their activities.
Mrs Yvonne Opoku Kwarteng, an official from the Asutifi South District Education Directorate, disclosed that as part of the service’s effort to reduce HIV infections, students and teachers in the area had attended series of workshops on the pandemic.
She congratulated students and teachers of Osuodumgya Basic School for emerging as the best school in HIV /AIDS education by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2010.
The Adontenhene of Hwediem traditional area, Nana Baffour Kyei, pledged the support of the paramountcy to end stigmatisation and discrimination against PLWA saying” let us come together to protect themselves”.
FROM EMMANUEL ADU GYAMFI, HWEDIEM