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“HIV And AIDS Do Not Kill Instantly, But Stigma And Discrimination Do”

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This statement was made by a person living with HIV at a day’s interaction between the staff of the Ghana AIDS Commission and the media in Tamale. The media (composed of reporters and editors) drawn from the Northern, Upper East and the Upper West Regions and their AIDS Commission counterparts discussed HIV and AIDS situation in the three regions and the regional responses thereof.

Mr. Kyeremeh Atuahene (the director of research, monitoring and evaluation of the commission) who represented the director general of the commission indicated that under the Motto, ‘working actively and in partnership towards elimination of HIV and AIDS by 2030,’ the commission instituted the interaction in order to get first-hand information from media partners about the latter’s understanding of HIV and the challenges they encounter in reporting on related issues.

Dr. Patrick Bampoe,the Northern Regional HIV/TB Coordinator said that though we cannot eliminate HIV and AIDS in our generation, because we already have it, we should work hard to ensure we do not transmit it to the next generation. And that having HIV is not the end of the world because of the many interventions one can avail the self of.

Three healthy-looking persons living with HIV recounted their challenges: high cost of laboratory tests, stigmatization and discrimination among others.

Miss Margaret Yamoah took participants through UNAIDS Terminology guidelines on preferred terms to use in relation to HIV and AIDS. For example we have HIV test or HIV antibody test, and not AIDS test. We do not fight AIDS, we respond or manage it. We also have HIV, and not AIDS/HIV virus.

Participants, on the way forward, agreed that more research needs to be undertaken on various aspects of the pandemic, media to help dispel negative beliefs; persons living with HIV are not devils nor are they accursed. Stakeholder should increase effort on sensitisation and more space allotted to AIDS topics in the media among others.

Source: Nkiikinah Sam/Topnewsghana.com

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