Miss Anastasia Atiogbe, Birim Central Municipal Director of Health Service, has said stigmatization and discrimination were hampering the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
She appealed to people to stop stigmatizing and discriminating against People Living with HIV (PLWH) and rather accept and give them care and support.
Miss Atiogbe said this to the GNA after meeting PLWH at Akim Oda under the Herald Foundation HIV Advocacy Project.
The Herald Foundation HIV Advocacy Project is working in 10 communities in the Birim Central and South Districts and aims at reducing stigma and discrimination against PLWH and will run for two years.
Ms Atiogbe said if people living with the virus were stigmatized and discriminated against they could be compelled to go underground and infect more people.
She said due to stigma, some pregnant women who went for voluntary counseling and testing at the Akim Oda Government Hospital gave wrong telephone and house numbers and did not go back to the facility to receive anti retroviral drugs when they tested positive for HIV.
She said some of the women alleged that they were beaten by their husbands and later thrown out of their marital homes when their husbands got to know that they had tested positive.
Miss Atiogbe said the Foundation aimed at reducing mother to child transmission to zero but stigmatization seemed to be a barrier to achieve that target.
She said the Foundation was meeting with traditional authorities, Imams, assembly members, Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), herbalists and other identifiable groups to sensitize them against stigmatization .
Miss Atiogbe was grateful to Mr Samuel Appiah-Kubi, chairman, Ghana Union of Umea, Sweden, for providing the Foundation with a projector, public address systems, photocopy machines and laptops among others.
Mr Kwesi Ahenkorah Anti, Secretary to Herald Foundation, appealed to all to go for voluntary counseling and testing.