Tema, July 14, GNA - The National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NACP) has encouraged men to know their HIV status as "men formed only 20 per cent of persons who tested for their status in Ghana in 2018."
Statistics from NACP indicate that women form the majority of persons who test for HIV with 29 per cent being non-pregnant and 51 per cent, pregnant women, who tested under the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission programme.
Dr Akosua Osei-Manu, a representative of NACP, disclosed this at a day’s sensitization programme for 105 police personnel in the Tema Region on Human Rights Intervention for Key Populations, People Living with HIV (PLHIV) and Tuberculosis (TB) Patients.
The programme formed part of activities under the Ghana West Africa Programme to Combat AIDS and STIs (WAPCAS).
Dr Osei-Manu noted that it was about time men took a step further to test and know their status as that was their entry point for protection and care.
She indicated that unlike other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), which were easily detectable from symptoms, HIV could survive in a patient for many years without any sign therefore the need to test and prevent its spread.
She added that people must not wait till they fall sick, or contract TB before being compelled to test but must do so now to save themselves and their loves ones.
Other stakeholders also pointed out that "HIV was closer to everyone than people perceive" as according to them statistics show that two per cent of Ghana’s population was infected with the virus and such persons were in every profession in the country.
“HIV is not very far from any of us – it is in our family, our colleagues and could also be in you, "one stakeholder opined.
HIV positive patients were also cautioned against infecting their partners with the virus as they could be prosecuted for doing so because “there are now laws in Ghana that criminalize the act of an HIV patient who intentionally hides his or her status from partners and infects them with the disease."
Mr Kofi Diaba, Programme Manager, WAPCAS, said his organization, as part of measures to implement interventions geared towards the reduction of HIV infections and related deaths, decided to organize the programme in Tema, the third to be organized so far.
Mr Diaba noted that the fight against HIV could only be won through multi-sectorial approach which must include all key populations and stakeholders adding that research showed that stigmatization and discrimination prevented people from accessing available health services and ended up spreading the disease.
He noted that sensitization and training programmes were being held for health officers in 20 selected districts on human rights and medical ethics related to HIV and TB.
He said the police intervention programme was also to sensitize the officers on human rights abuses that they carry out in the course of their duties.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Debora Addison-Campbell, Commanding Officer, National Police Training School, told the Ghana News Agency that as key stakeholders, the Police agreed to collaborate with WAPCAS to train officers on human rights issues.
ACP Addison-Campbell added that the programmes had led to the reviewing of the manual for training police officers to include the responsibilities of officers on the prevention of human rights abuses.
She further said the human rights training did not end at the training school but rather trainers of trainees would also be identified for continuous training of officers at their various units.
Dr Isaac Annan, Director of Human Rights, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), educated the officers on what constituted torture and the need to follow the Rwanda guidelines in the course of arrest, detention and prosecution of suspects.
Dr Annan encouraged civilians and officers who have had their human rights abused should either seek redress at the courts or report to CHRAJ for investigations and action.