Dr. Angela El-Adas, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), has expressed concern about the continued discrimination and stigmatization of people living with the HIV/AIDS infection, something, she noted was not helpful to the fight against the disease.
She said that needed to stop and warned of punishing those trampling on the human rights of such patients.
This was contained in a speech read for her at the Ashanti Regional celebration of this year’s World AIDS Day in Obogu in the Asante-Akim South District.
The event was held under the theme “90-90: providing comprehensive integrated services for all towards an HIV-free generation”.
Dr. El-Adas said the new GAC Act made it a punishable offence to violate the human rights of people living with the disease through stigmatization.
The said law comes into force, next year – 2017, she added.
She underlined the determination of the Commission to scale up its “heart-to-heart” campaign to fight the public stigma.
It was also focusing more effort on preventing mother-to-child transmission through an integrated approach including male involvement.
Mr. John Alexander Ackon, the Regional Minister, urged stakeholders to work together to ensure that HIV services became both accessible and continuous to help achieve an HIV-free generation.
He encouraged the Commission, civil society organizations and other players to work together to further bring down the national prevalence rate, which now stands at 1.8 per cent.
He identified discrimination and stigmatization as the most serious hindrance to the effort to stop the spread of the disease.
He complained about the situation where infected persons traveled long distances outside their communities to access antiretroviral drugs due to stigmatization.