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Do not refuse blessing marriages of HIV positive persons- NACP to Clergy

February 20, 2024
Do not refuse blessing marriages of HIV positive persons- NACP to Clergy

Dr. Stephen Ayisi-Addo, the Programmes Manager of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), is urging clergy members not to refuse to bless marriages involving persons living with (PLHIV). He emphasized that marrying an HIV-positive person is not dangerous as long as the individual is on antiretroviral treatment, which suppresses the virus and prevents its spread.

Speaking to the (GNA) during the media launch of the 20th-anniversary celebration of antiretroviral treatment in Ghana, Dr Ayisi-Addo highlighted that approximately 354,927 people are currently living with HIV in Ghana, with a prevalence rate of 1.7% of the general population as of December 2023. While the prevalence is higher among key populations like female sex workers and men who have sex with men, the treatment of HIV through antiretroviral therapy (ART) has significantly improved outcomes for affected individuals.

Dr. Ayisi-Addo stressed the importance of encouraging and supporting HIV-positive individuals to adhere to their treatment regimen to achieve viral suppression, which prevents further transmission of the virus. He called on religious leaders to bless marriages involving PLHIV, emphasizing that love is bigger than HIV and that strict adherence to treatment prevents transmission to spouses and children.

Furthermore, Dr. Ayisi-Addo highlighted the need to address stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive individuals, noting that some patients face challenges in adhering to treatment due to social stigma and logistical barriers. He emphasized the importance of reinforcing adherence and increasing access to ART sites to ensure that clients can easily access medication.

The NACP is working to formulate strategies to combat stigma and discrimination, with a focus on orienting HIV patients to overcome self-stigmatization. Dr. Ayisi-Addo called on the public to support the fight against stigma and discrimination and to contribute to the AIDS fund to sustain efforts towards achieving epidemic control in the coming years.

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