Stop confusing messages about HIV-AIDS – Coordinator

Dr Thomas Agyarko-Poku, Ashanti Regional Coordinator of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), has expressed concern about spurious claims of cure and confusing messages about the causes of HIV-AIDS by some self-professed spiritualists and pastors.

“It s not true that the disease is caused by evil spirits as some of these people would want us to believe. It is purely a medical condition.”

He said those infected should therefore be encouraged to go to the health facilities for proper attention and care but not shrines and prayer camps.

Dr Agyarko-Poku was speaking at the launch of the Ashanti Region branch of the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV-AIDS (INERELA+gh) in Kumasi.

The organization with its headquarters in South Africa aims at promoting a radical shift in AIDS prevention campaign from abstinence, faithfulness and condom use to the adoption of safer practices, access to treatment and nutrition.

This is being done alongside voluntary counseling and testing as well as empowerment of those living with the virus.

Dr Agyarko-Poku said HIV-AIDS should not be seen any differently from the other diseases such as hypertension, malaria and diabetes and that chicken pox is even more infectious and frightful than HIV-AIDS.

The National Coordinator of INERELA+gh, Mrs Mercy Acquah-Hayford, said their goal was to engage, equip and empower those infected to lead normal lives.

Additionally, they were helping religious leaders living with the virus to come to the open with their status to reduce the stigma.

The Reverend John Azuma of the Mount Zion Evangelical Ministries, who claims to have lived with the virusase for the past 10 years, appealed to his colleagues in the Gospel Ministry to act together to tackle stigmatization of  infected persons.

He appealed to the Ghana Health Service to ensure that HIV-AIDS patients have access to anti-retroviral drugs.

Source: GNA

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