False prophets and herbalists, barriers to HIV/AIDS-Minister

Mr. Bede Ziedeng, the Northern Regional Minister, has said false prophets and herbalists who profess to have the cure for HIV and AIDS were barriers in the quest to reduce HIV infections.

He said there was no scientific evidence about any cure for the virus yet false prophets and some herbalists were claiming to have a cure.

Mr. Ziedeng said this on Thursday at Kumbungu during the regional celebrations of the World AIDS Day.

The global theme was: “Getting to zero: zero new HIV infection, zero AIDS related deaths”, and Ghana’s sub theme was “Accelerating the national response towards the MDGs”.

Mr. Ziedeng lauded efforts being made by the country by reducing new infections but warned that these efforts would be fruitless if people continued to stigmatize and discriminate against people living with the virus.

Dr. Akwasi Twumasi, the Northern Regional Director of Health, said there was the need for every member of society to consciously get involved in the fight against the disease in order to achieve the target of zero infections and that abstinence, condom use and faithfulness should be preached all the time.

On the prevalence of the disease, he said Ghana stood at 1.37% in 2012, 1.5% in 2011and 2.0% in 2010 while new estimated infections stood at 12,077 and a total of 225,478 persons living with HIV in Ghana.

Dr. Twumasi said HIV sentinel prevalence for the Northern Region stood at 0.7, 0.3 and 0.9 in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Mrs Gifty Akosua Baka, Country Director of the Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) in a solidarity message, said there was no need for anybody in the country to die out of HIV and AIDS through ignorance of the disease because knowledge about it was easily available.

“There is a lot of information out there and CCFC believes that people should not be infected out of ignorance. People should no longer die out of ignorance since with progress made any person infected can live and go about their lives better than in previous years”, she said.

Mrs Baka lauded efforts of the government to produce Anti-Retroviral drugs locally saying it would improve the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS and suggested the need for more work to be done in areas of public awareness creation, contribution of resources and access to Anti-Retroviral Therapy for people living with HIV and AIDS. GNA

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