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General News of Friday, 27 August 2021

Source: happyghana.com

Pastors should not deny blessing marriages involving HIV positives – Nat’l AIDS Control Programme

Programmes Manager for the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo Programmes Manager for the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo

Stigmatization of people living with AIDs is prevalent on the continent of Africa, and with the fear of the risk of infections, religious leaders even are against marriages between a couple with one being HIV positive.

Programmes Manager for the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo has mentioned that “no pastor must deny any couple a marriage rite or relationship because of their HIV status.”

According to him, there is no danger in serodiscordant couples (Couples with one person who is HIV-positive and one who is HIV-negative are sometimes called “serodiscordant” or “mixed serostatus”) so far as the HIV positive couple is religiously taking his/her medication.

To him, love is bigger than HIV and more people are dying from other health conditions outside HIV “so why deny marriage between a serodiscordant couple?”

He believes if HIV is being used as a basis to bless marriages then there will be virtually no marriages as some families have histories of some genetic and chronic diseases.

“Some families have a history of diabetes, stroke, hypertension, and what have you so it is likely that a few years after marriage they suffer episodes. So does that mean they should be denied love?” he asked in an interview with Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show.

With technological and medical advancement, it is now possible with HIV positives to get married to a negative person without infecting them. “There is something we call undetectable is untransmittable so if one's partner is taking their drugs religiously, the virus will not be transmitted.”

Assuring safety amongst serodiscordant couples, Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo indicated that if an HIV patient takes their medication consistently between 6 months and a year, the virus will be suppressed. In that instance, it is difficult to transmit the virus to the next person.

“And that is why we keep preaching adherence to get HIV patients to keep taking their medication. As long as the medication is being taken, the next person will be safe and the virus will not be transmitted to a baby.”

He cited stories where HIV-positive mothers have given birth to 3 or 4 kids with their HIV-negative husbands and all the kids came out as HIV-negative. “This is because they have been taking their medication all the time.”

The health professionals indicated that all HIV programmes are still being rolled out in Ghana and explained there was no harm in HIV positives and negatives getting married, so far as they took their medication always.”

With the introduction of self-test HIV kits, he encouraged the populace to get tested and know their status. “We want people to make a conscious decision about their healthcare. We must know that more people may be actually exiting from HIV than the new threats.”

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