Group urges Gambian journalists to help HIV/AIDS victims fight stigma

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The President of Gambia Network of AIDS Support Society (GAMNASS), Fatima Gai, has urged the media to join efforts in support of people living with HIV/AIDS against stigma and discrimination.

Speaking Monday at the opening of a three-day training for health journalists on “Gender, Human Rights and HIV/ AIDS” in Banjul, Gai said HIV/AIDS should be everyone’s business, noting that the media had an important role to play in creating awareness and sensitization, to change the perception and understanding of the people about the disease.

“The media should advocate for people to go for voluntary counseling and testing. The misconception or perception of people against the disease has brought a serious challenge to people who have chosen to disclose their status,” she said.

“People living with the virus should not be stigmatised and not be discriminated against within the community and the family levels, they need to be given the hope and dignity they deserve.”

Mr. Dawda Joof, the Global Fund Programme Officer for Action Aid International-the Gambia, stressed the role of journalists in the fight against HIV/AIDS, while noting that they are in the second year of implementation of the "Global Fund Round Eight for Malaria, TB and HIV/AIDS” in the country.

“Information dissemination is very crusial for health-related issues in the Gambia, however, stigma and discrimination are the highest challenges for people living with HIV/AIDS and needs to be addressed urgently,” Joof said.

UNAIDS Country Officer in Banjul, Mr. Nuha Ceesay asserted that the major cause of stigma is “ignorance and lack of understanding” of the forms of transmission of the HIV virus.

Ceesay blamed religious and traditional believes, misperception, misinformation on HIV/AIDS and poverty for the continued challenges to achieving the Universal Access and Human Rights.  
-0- PANA MSS/BOS 2May2011

02 may 2011 20:44:00




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