No institution should demand HIV status – AIDS co-ordinator

Mr. William Saawil Sopiimeh, the Brong-Ahafo Regional HIV/AIDS Coordinator, has said it was against human rights and the HIV policy for any institution to require a person’s HIV status before services are rendered to such a person.

He told the GNA in an interview that people needed to be treated with dignity and respect and it was wrong for a financial institution to demand for a client’s HIV status before granting a credit facility.

It is equally wrong for a church to ask would-be couples to provide an HIV test report before marriages can be blessed.

“Rather, people should be encouraged to go for voluntary counselling and testing so that they can make informed decisions for themselves about marriage, pregnancy or sexual relationship.”

“The days when HIV/AIDS was seen as the death sentence is passed since now there is treatment in hospitals that helps victims to lead normal and longer lives”, he said.

Mr. Sopiimeh said the campaign about HIV had reduced after creating awareness among the public and had been replaced with “know your status campaign” to give opportunities for people to know their status.

He advised the public to check and know their status once every six months, explaining that if it was established that one had the virus he/she would be put on treatment drug to lead a normal and longer life.

Mr. Sopiimeh said testing negative for HIV created a powerful motivation for individuals to try to remain negative.

He expressed concern about the HIV prevalence rate in the region and mentioned that the rate for 2008 was 2.6 and rose to 2.9 in 2009.

Mr. Sopiimeh said the region recorded had recorded 793 cases between January and March as against 613 recorded last year within the same period.

Source: GNA

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