Women Living with HIV Address Stigma and Discrimination

5 June 2018

Women living with HIV in the Sunyani Municipality of Ghana have expressed displeasure over high public stigmatisation and discrimination. According to them, although they have been placed on anti-retroviral therapy, they were going through what they described as serious “mental torture”. During a refresher training organized by the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), more than 15 women living with HIV serving as paralegals in their communities raised their concerns. In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), the patients attributed the spread of the disease partly to the stigmatisation of some of the women living with the disease.

Some of them shared that their clergy, church leaders disclosed their HIV status with community members - leading to more stigma and discrimination. In response, Mrs Lydia Bawa, a legal practitioner took them through the Domestic Violence Act 732, 2007, and warned that it was a serious offence to stigmatise and discriminate persons living with HIV. She said under the Act, HIV patients had their right to privacy, absolute security and dignity and warned the public against stigmatising patients, saying offenders would be prosecuted.

Mrs Susan Aryeetey, the Acting Executive Director of FIDA Ghana, explained that the training was in line with a project being implemented by her organisation with support from STAR-Ghana. The two and a half year project is aimed at helping to address the specific needs of women living with HIV and people with disabilities.

Read the full article online here.