Ghana: Legal Rights of People Living with HIV/AIDS
October 29, 2002
Representatives of Ghanaian non-governmental organizations met with government leaders in Accra on Friday at a conference for lawyers on the legal rights and social issues facing people with HIV/AIDS. The workshop, organized by AIDS Alert Ghana with support from Ghana AIDS Commission and the British Council, was to brainstorm legal means of protecting the human rights of the HIV-infected and to combat stigmatization.
"Fear of stigmatization may prevent people living with HIV/AIDS from seeking early treatment," said Esther Baah Amoako, executive director of AAG. "They may also... have unprotected sex to give the impression they are uninfected."
The event was intended to sensitize lawyers to the social issues facing people with HIV/AIDS and to inform them about the relevance of existing laws. However, multiple speakers stressed the importance of Ghana passing new laws that specifically protect the rights of HIV-infected individuals. Canada, South Africa, and Uganda were mentioned as role models for their responsiveness in establishing legal rights crucial to the future of people with HIV/AIDS in those countries.
Gloria Akuffo, Ghana's deputy attorney general and minister of justice, warned against laws removing rights from people with HIV/AIDS. Laws that ban HIV-infected people from working in certain jobs promote an environment of stigma, she said. She also stressed the importance of traditional leaders' involvement in campaigns to stop the spread of HIV and destigmatize the disease.
Africa News Service
10.28.02; Accra Mail
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This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.