The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have held a day’s sensitization and training workshop with journalists on issues of HIV and AIDS cases in the Central Region.
The workshop was to urge journalists to use their medium to accurately educate the public on HIV and AIDS prevalence in order to reduce stigma and encourage behaviour change.
Acting Director-General of the GAC, Kyeremeh Atuahene, noted that stigmatization is making it difficult for citizens to check their status, hence, causing them to live with the virus without treatment.
He added that Doctors have scientifically proven that deligent in-take of the anti-retroviral (ART) medicine would suppress the virus and make them less active to function in the system. He revealed that as at December 2018, only 113,000 out of the nearly 335,000 persons living with the virus were on anti-retroviral treatment.
“This low uptake of ART is due to the fact that many diagnosed people are in denial of having the virus or are not aware of the treatment and therefore the media must help in their capacity to enhance and educate the public on such issues.
“I will encourage you to use your reach and influence to give people the information they need to protect themselves from HIV, educate them on the treatment in case they are infected with the virus and help reduce stigma and discrimination,” he stated.
The Metro Health Director of the region, Dr. John Oto indicated that the region with a population of about 3 million has over 26,000 persons living with HIV, comprising about 9,000 males and 17,000 females, but only 68.2 percent of the patients are on the ART treatment.
He therefore tasked the media to help in sensitizing and educating the people on the dangers and implications.
The 36 journalists who participated in the workshop said the training has broadened their knowledge and it would enable them raise more awareness on the importance of early detection.
Source: Eric Nii Sackey