A total of 5051 persons is confirmed to be infected with HIV virus in the Upper West region.
2453 of the number are on treatment in various health facilities in the region whilst 63 of them died of the disease as at December last year.
Yakubu Dramani, Upper West Regional Technical Coordinator for the Ghana Aids Commission revealed this at a stakeholders’ meeting in the regional capital, Wa.
The meeting was to share the outcome of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) site visits embarked upon by the Regional Social Accountability Monitoring Committee in 2016.
He said the figures were obtained from the records of all the ART sites in the region.
The regional technical coordinator said despite several interventions to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS, the stigma against persons living with the virus still continue to be a bane, making some infected persons shy away from treatment.
This and many other challenges have pushed the Upper West region to move from the second lowest in 2015 per the 2016 HIV sentinel survey results to tie with Western regions as the 5thmost HIV-infected region in the country with 2.5% prevalence rate.
Mr. Dramani opined that 261 persons who were diagnosed with the virus “are lost to follow-ups” and “this is worrying because we cannot guarantee the kind of lifestyles they are living”.
He appealed to stakeholders in the region to double their efforts in other to nip the practice in the bud. “We cannot win as a team if we allow these clients to continue to be stigmatised against. This is the time to wage war against stigma if we want to ever have HIV-free generation”.
Section 28-38 of the Ghana AIDS Commission Act 938 states in no ambiguous terms that no person should be discriminated against because of his/her HIV status.
But Mr.Mohammed Osman, Upper West regional president of persons living with HIV/AIDS disclosed that many people are abused on the blind side of the law because they are tested positive for the virus.
“People keep pointing fingers at us. Some of us are discriminated against at workplaces. Just recently a lady was sacked because her boss said she liked taking drugs”. He appealed to the law enforcement agencies to help curb the practice.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sabastian Ziem, a deputy chief investigator at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice has admonished victims of any form of human rights abuses to report promptly to the Commission for redress.
He said as part of measures put in place to swiftly address such cases in the country, his outfit has launched an e-platform to fast-track complaints to the commission.
By: Mahama Latif/citifmonline.com/Ghana