Derick Oppong-Agyare (arrowed), Deputy Director, Programmes, Ghana AIDS Commission, with participating journalists at the workshop
Derick Oppong-Agyare (arrowed), Deputy Director, Programmes, Ghana AIDS Commission, with participating journalists at the workshop

HIV not death sentence — AIDS Commission

Acquiring HIV is not a death sentence because there is now medication that, when taken religiously, renders the virus undetectable in the body.


And once the virus becomes undetectable in a person, he or she will not be able to transmit it to another person even through unprotected sex, the Deputy Director of Programmes at GAC, Derick Oppong-Agyare, has said.

“The situation is not as dire as people think. HIV is no longer a death sentence, hence no one should die of AIDS in Ghana.

“Some people are unwilling to test because they think HIV is a death sentence.

 You advise them, preach to them and even cajole them, they will not test.

Please, help us to tell the good people of this country to do the testing,” he said.

Mr Oppong-Agyare was speaking at a media training workshop on HIV-related human rights, stigma and discrimination in Accra.

It was organised by GAC, in partnership with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), SEND Ghana and UNAIDS, and funded by PEPFAR.

The two-day workshop offered participants the opportunity to, among others, learn about HIV and AIDS terminologies, current HIV epidemiology, achievements and challenges, as well as the role of the media in reducing stigma and discrimination.


The deputy director said there was medication for a person who unmindfully engaged in unprotected sex with a recipient of care — a person living with HIV (PLHIV).

Known as post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), once taken within the first three months after unprotected sex with a recipient of care, it protects the person from contracting the virus.

Again, he said, there was also a pre exposure prophylaxis (PREP) which when taken before sexual intercourse with a recipient of care, one would not contract the virus.

Mr Oppong-Agyare said after one tested positive for HIV, one was supposed to start treatment immediately, however, some enter into a state of self-denial and refused to start treatment.

He pleaded with the media to help inform the public that such self-denials do not help in the treatment process.

On achievements made in HIV campaign in the country, Mr Oppong-Agyare said there had been some improvement in coverage of prevention of mother-to-child transmission services through the expansion of access to antenatal care, HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy for pregnant women living with HIV.


In a speech read on his behalf, the Director-General of GAC, Dr Kyeremeh Atuahene, said data from the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) showed that persons infected, affected and at higher-risk of HIV continued to suffer various forms of discrimination, including eviction from rented or family houses, denial of employment and share of property, maintenance of children, education, police assistance and health services, as well as blackmail, divorce and assault cases.

He said that GAC had also been receiving similar reports or complaints from persons infected or affected by HIV over issues such as PLHIVs being denied the use of same toilet, bathroom or kitchen as the landlord or co-tenants.


The Public Affairs Officer of the GJA, Rebecca Ekpe, said the association was committed to training and building the capacity of journalists.

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