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Mr Kyeremeh Atuahene, Director General, Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), has described the Church as a powerful channel that can be used to eradicate HIV and AIDS in Ghana.
He said majority of Ghanaians were Christians, as such, working with the Church could help reduce new infections, eliminate AIDS and its related deaths, kick against stigma and mother to child transmission.
“The 2021 Population and Housing Census results show that more than 70 per cent of the Ghanaian population is Christian. This means, the Church has the largest population amongst all the various religious groups.
“As such, we need to work with the Church in order to reach out to people with HIV, because it is quite natural that you would have more people living with HIV within the Church than outside of it,” he said.
Mr Atuahene said this on Sunday in an interactive session with Christian leaders to build partnerships with Churches and other Christian groups.
He said GAC was partnering with the Christian community because they were the first to roll out AIDS response programmes all over the world, especially in Africa.
“Governments did not get involved in the response earlier enough. Churches started the programme ‘Caring for persons living with HIV’, supporting and giving them palliative care. At that time, there was no medication but the Church helped patients to have dignified lives. If we started with the Church, we need to end with it,” he said.
The Director General called on the various Christian groupings in Ghana to partner with the Commission to eliminate AIDS in the country and ensure that it was no longer a public health threat.
He said the Church needed to own the fight against HIV and make it their business.
Mr Atuahene said they should also mainstream HIV issues into their operations and programmes and ensure that those with HIV in the Church were supported.
He said if that was done, then the objective set by the Commission to eliminate AIDS in Ghana by 2025 would be achieved.
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system.
If it is not treated, it can lead to AIDS.
There is currently no effective cure.
However, with proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. People with HIV who get effective treatment can live long, healthy lives and protect their partners.