Persons Living With HIV Worried Of Stigmatization At Health Centers

Persons living with HIV are lamenting stigmatization at health centers despite the intensified public campaign against the practice.

Nurses and other health care providers are being accused of exhibiting cold attitudes when patients visit the hospitals.

According to HIV/AIDS advocates, the situation compels patients to either stay home or resort to alternative traditional and spiritual centres for intervention.

The Ghana demographic health survey for 2013 revealed 30 per cent of HIV patients did not visit hospitals for treatment.

This situation is said to have resulted in deteriorating conditions of some patients whiles others die at an early stage.

Heart to Heart Ambassadors of Ghana Network of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS, Rev. John Azuma and Gifty Torkornu explained.

‘Our health personnel are doing their best but can do better. Of late we hear that when PLHIV (Persons Living with HIV) visit health centers, they are not treated well; rejection, discrimination and stigmatization.

‘We believe those who are doing these lack indefinite training on taking care of sensitive situations such as HIV. We are pleading with them that it is not right to discriminate. Some of us as a result fear to visit the hospital because of some of these attitudes. Health authorities should also help sensitize their staff on such issues,’ they said.

Regional Coordinator of HIV/AIDS at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Thomas Agyarko Poku acknowledged the situation is precarious among nurses especially the new ones.

‘There are a lot of malpractices at the hospitals which we admit. I believe some of these conducts should be reprimanded by the authorities. It’s about time we reassess the health system,’ he said.

He is however worried of the growing trend despite the campaign against it and believes a special training of health personnel could help address the situation.

For him, there should be an ongoing training and retraining of the staff, especially those who graduate from the training colleges should be talked to.

He added that the focus should not only be addressing the inadequacy of health workers but such sensitive situation should also be discussed on the table.

Technical Director at Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Fred Nana Poku is positive the situation could be calm if the right measures are put in place.

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