Dr Kwaku Agyemang-Mensah, Ashanti Regional Minister, has said there is the need to scale up public education and sensitization programmes on the HIV and AIDS to change the negative perception and attitudes towards infected persons.
Stigmatization and discrimination of those living with the disease must stop, he said.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah, who was opening a three-day media interaction and training on HIV-AIDS, described the prevalence rate of the disease in the Region as unacceptably high.
The national prevalence rate is put at 1.5 per cent whilst that of the Ashanti stands at 3.1 per cent.
The disease, he noted, must be appreciated as a development issue and therefore require concerted effort on the part of all social partners, “if we are to make any headway in the national response initiative.”
The programme was organized jointly by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) and the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council (RCC).
It brought together about 50 participants made up of radio presenters and journalists from the print and electronic media.
The goal was to help map out a common approach towards achieving the objectives of the 2011-2015 HIV and AIDS
response strategic plan.
Dr Agyemang-Mensah said it was important to encourage all to go public on their HIV/AIDS status to help check the spread of the infection.
He gave the assurance that the government would continue to support the GAC with resources to enable it to achieve
its set targets.
Dr Richard Amenyah, Director of Technical Services of the GAC, said significant strides had been made towards promoting
universal access to HIV services.
He said GAC was working to reduce infections by 50 per cent, bring down mother-to-child infections as well as stigmatization and discrimination by 2015. GNA