Woman living with HIV virus pressurized for sex by deceased husband’s brothers

A woman living with the HIV virus at Lawra has said she is distressed because her husband’s brothers were pressurizing her for sex though they know that their brother died of AIDS.

“I have told them that I am carrying the HIV virus yet they keep on pressurizing me for sex,” Madam Nonekuu Debou complained. “But they tell me that they want to have intercourse with me and not an HIV and AIDS vagina. I do not know if they think that HIV /AIDS is a human being, different from me.”

She said because she resisted yielding to their demands, a piece of land that was allocated to her to undertake her farming activities had been taken away from her.

She was under intense pressure to leave her husband’s room and to relocate with her parents, she said, because she had refused their demands for sex.

Madam Debou gave this testimony during a meeting with a cross section of women living with the HIV virus in the Upper West Region, at Jirapa, on Tuesday.

She said the spread of HIV was the result of some ‘crazy men’ who put pressure on women living with the virus for sex.

Additionally, the high poverty levels among women living with the virus, and had little or no food to eat and cater for their children make them yield to men’s demands.

Madam Debou said because of the varied circumstances beyond the ability of Persons Living with HIV Virus (PLWHV), the infection rate continues to increase in the region.

In a statement issued at the forum, the PLWHV identified stigmatisation and discrimination by some members of society and the unprofessional attitude and behaviour of some health personnel as their worst challenges.

The health personnel, they said, include counsellors, nurses, ward assistants and pharmacists.

The statement said the lack of support from the district assemblies, the high poverty level among members due to job losses and some PLWHV marrying without disclosing their status to their partners were also not helping the situation.

Madam Regina Zagha, National Secretary of Women’s Wing of the PLWHV, who read the communiqué, said the high infection rate among women in the region was due to practices such as widow inheritance, forced marriage and the inability to negotiate for safe sex.

She appealed to the government and the Ministry of Health to establish drug collection points at the monthly meeting grounds of the PLWHV to help avoid the humiliation and public ridicule by some health staff.

Madam Zagha called for income generating skill training for members and the provision of loans to support them to form cooperatives to undertake ventures that would sustain their economies.

She appealed to governmental and non-governmental organisation to support the PLWHV associations with donkeys and accessories to enable them to cart goods from their farms. They also need a shea butter extraction machine to enhance their soap-making business.

Support of food ration to members during monthly meeting should be reinstituted and the supply of mosquito nets was encouraged to reduce the incidence of malaria from members, Madam Zagha said.

Action Aid Ghana, a non governmental organisation, dedicated to working with the poor and the excluded to eradicate poverty and injustices, organised the forum to interact with the participants.

The more than 600 women living with the HIV from associations from Jirapa, Lawra, Sissala East, Wa, Nadowli and Nandom met to share their concerns and challenges with the Upper West Regional Minister, Alhaji Issahaque Salia and other policy makers with the view to make life supportable for them.

Source: GNA

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