Health News of Thursday, 19 October 2006
Accra, Oct. 19, GNA- Participants at the just ended two-day international conference on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights in Accra have proposed the involvement of politicians in the removal of the stigmatisation of People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). They also proposed that political, religious and traditional leaders disclose their HIV status publicly and advocate for the rights of PLWHA's.
A communiqu=E9 issued at the end of the conference, attended by stakeholders from the ECOWAS region and read by Dr Sylvia Anie-Akwetey of the Ghana Aids Commission called on the private sector to create and implement workplace programmes on human rights, especially in consideration of HIV/AIDS.
Participants advocated the repetition of the conference in other countries and regions, the creation of an ECOWAS office and an inter-regional network on HIV/AIDS, and human rights. They stressed that PLWHA's had responsibilities that went along with their rights and called for a broad educational campaign on the rights of people living with HIV/AIDS to be undertaken for the society at large.
The Communique said care-givers needed training to educate them on building self-esteem and rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, and stressed the need for greater involvement of PLWHA's in the advocacy of promotion of human rights. It called on families of PLWHA's to be supportive of them and avoid all discriminatory acts and violation of their rights. The participants also called on the Ghana AIDS Commission to engage with Judiciary Service, the Ghana Police Service, and National Commission on Children on the special needs of PLWHA's, noting that the rights and needs of HIV Orphans should be recognized and protected by the Department of Women and Social Welfare. They also proposed that the Ghana AIDS Commission include in their budget post-exposure prophylaxis and to also advocate for free treatment for rape victims.
The communiqu=E9 stressed the need to encourage voluntary counselling and testing, instead of mandatory testing. The conference on the theme: "Keep the Promise HIV/AIDS and Human Rights" was organised by the African Commission on Human and Health (CAPSDH) in collaboration with the Ghana Aids Commission and the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR). It aimed at deepening the global response to HIV/AIDS to new heights in order to reduce the spread of the disease and to promote and enhance the fundamental human rights of the PLWHA. The communiqu=E9 is expected to form the basis to support policy formulating and programming in Africa. 19 Oct. 06