Encourage persons living with HIV to use antiretroviral drugs – AIDS ambassador

He said, using the antiretroviral drugs will boost the immune system of such persons, prolong their lifespan and reduce HIV infection in the country

John Kworshie Azumah, Ghana’s HIV/AIDS ambassador, has urged Ghanaians to encourage persons living with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to take their antiretroviral drugs rather than stigmatise them.

He said, using the antiretroviral drugs will boost the immune system of such persons, prolong their lifespan and reduce HIV infection in the country. 

At a workshop organized for selected journalists in Accra, Azumah said “the drugs are available at every district government hospital, polyclinics and health centers. They can be accessed for free.”

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a treatment regimen for people infected with HIV. It uses anti-HIV drugs

The standard treatment consists of a combination of drugs (often called “highly active antiretroviral therapy” – HAART) that suppress HIV replication.

Azumah emphasized that the use of the drug is the surest way of preventing the virus from developing into the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) disease.

Ghana has seen an upsurge in infections in recent years, especially among the younger population.

Data from the Ghana AIDS Commission indicates that a total of 18,928 new infections of the virus were recorded in 2020.

In all, 5,211 of these infections were reported in young people between the ages of 15 to 24, representing 28% of the total infections recorded that year.

As at the end of 2020, about 346,120 people were living with HIV in the country, with a prevalence rate of 1.6%.

Azumah bemoaned the continuous stigmatisation of persons living with the virus, saying that the situation has compelled many to go into hiding rather than seeking early treatment.

The HIV/AIDS ambassador who has lived with the virus for more than two decades, said he has lived that long because he never missed taking his medication. He has remained healthy because of his early acceptance of the antiretroviral drugs. 

He noted that due to the constant stigmatisation, many persons living with HIV prefer to travel miles away from their communities just to access the antiretroviral drugs. This puts them in precarious situations.

He said, “somebody lives in Accra but will travel all the way to Tema just to access the antiretroviral for fear of being seen and stigmatised against when they go to health facilities in their local communities for the drug. It is not helping anybody,” he bemoaned. 

He also urged journalists to be more circumspect, use appropriate words when reporting on the disease to help fight stigma.

Azumah said, “your description of HIV/AIDS hurts instead of giving them hope. We have to, therefore, modify our language when reporting on the virus because, if we do not do that, it means we (the media) are perpetuating stigmatisation.”

The workshop, organised by the International Network of Religious Leaders Living with or personally affected by HIV and AIDS (INERELA+ Ghana), with funding from the UN Women, was aimed at sensitising journalists on their role in addressing HIV stigmatisation in the society.

It was also aimed at empowering them on how to use the pen to save lives.

The director of public education at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Nana Yamfoah Amua-Sekyi, said journalists have a responsibility to protect the identity of children when reporting on matters that affect them.

She said, “do not publish a story or any image which might put the child, siblings or peers at risk even when identities are changed, obscured or not used.”

Paulina Louisa Essel, a certified counselling psychologist at CHRAJ, urged journalists to be mindful when reporting on sexual and gender-based violence, bearing in mind the need for accuracy.

She said, “not every sexual assault is rape so, use the right language when reporting on such incidents.”


Asaase Radio 99.5 broadcasts on radio via 99.5 in Accra, 98.5 in Kumasi, 99.7 in Tamale, 100.3 in Cape Coast and on our affiliates Bawku FM 101.5 in Bawku, Beats FM 99.9 in Bimbilla, Somua FM 89.9 in Gushegu, Stone City 90.7 in Ho, Mining City 89.5 in Tarkwa and Wale FM 106.9 in Walewale
Tune in or log on to broadcasts 
online:, Sound Garden and TuneIn
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995
Live streaming: Also on YouTube: Asaase Radio Official.
Join the conversation. Call: 020 000 9951 or 059 415 7777. Or WhatsApp: 020 000 0995.


Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button

Adblock Detected