End discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS – CHRAJ

 The Commission on Hu­man Rights and Admin­istrative Justice (CHRAJ) has reiterated calls to bring an end to discrimination against persons living with HIV and AIDS.

 According to the Commission, in Ghana, approximately 346,120 people involving 66 per cent females and 34 per cent males are living with HIV and AIDS.

The call was made in a press statement issued and signed in Accra by the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, copied the Ghanaian Times, to mark the United Nations (UN) Zero Discrimination Day which is observed on March 1 each year.

The statement revealed that available data of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) indicated that 71 per cent of the people living with HIV know their status, however while 99 per cent of the people with recorded HIV infection receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy (ART), only 79 per cent of that popula­tion showed viral suppression.

This it said meant that Ghana had missed out on the UNAIDS’ ambitious target code of 90-90- 90, which aims to ensure that 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90 per cent of all people diagnosed with HIV will receive ART, and 90 per cent of all people receiving ART will have viral suppression, by 2020.

It explained that “stigmatisa­tion and discrimination remained the most insidious challenges” to the management of HIV and AIDS in Ghana, a situation which discourages many people from seeking counselling and testing services concerning their HIV status and end up keeping to themselves rather than integrating with people and the community.

These discriminatory tenden­cies, the statement said, led to disadvantages that limited their participation in the community, decreased in social interactions, created economic difficulties due to limited ability to secure and maintain jobs.

The statement stressed that the establishment of the Com­memoration Day by the UNAIDS was in furtherance to ending the human rights abuse of people who were being stigmatised and discriminated against globally on the basis of their HIV or AIDS status.

“More needs to be done by the government through its agencies such as GAC and the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) and other relevant stakeholders to completely address the negative phenomenon.”

“As we observe this day of Zero Discrimination, the Com­mission urges Government of Ghana to put additional measures in place to eradicate the issue of discrimination and encourage everyone to live in harmony and peace with others,” the statement added.

The Zero Discrimination Day was introduced by the UNAIDS in December 2013 to end the stig­matisation and unfair treatment towards people living with HIV/ AIDS.

The UN promoted this cause through encouraging stakeholders to undertake various commemo­rative events and designing cam­paigns that celebrated the human life and freedom of people to live inhonour and dignity irrespective of their HIV status.

However, the international community first observed the day on March 1, 2014 and the day has since been observed globally on March 1 every year.


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