President of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network, Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin, has stated that stigmatisation of people living with HIV/AIDS remains a big concern.
Despite guarantees and public education, he added, stigma was a huge issue.
He said that stigma is frequently caused by myths, religious beliefs, perceptions, and misleading claims.
He was speaking on the need for stakeholders to increase education and lobbying in order to minimise the prevalence of new infections in Ghana.
Mr. Ortsin added that the numbers given for 2022 revealed that the figures had more than doubled.
“When the figures for new infections released last year are examined, they show that the figures continue to rise. Every year, we record 18,000 new infections. However, for the first time last year, the figure surpassed 30,000. We surpassed 30,000. That was unprecedented. We must implement measures to address the risks.”
”The new figures are concerning, which is why we are emphasising the importance of intensifying campaigns. We are also grateful that Rainbow Radio has given us the opportunity to educate people about the importance of exercising caution.”
Touching on stigma, he said ”The stigma is high because our society is religious, and some believe God sent the disease to punish people for being promiscuous. But we are still educating people to make them understand that this was not the case.”
“The stigma has proven to be very challenging. The stigma problem is still present. Despite education, individuals continue to stigmatise. We have launched various campaigns and informed people that testing positive for HIV or living with the infection is not a death sentence. It does not imply that someone infected with HIV did anything wrong. As a society, we must assist persons living with HIV. We need to encourage such folks to seek treatment.”