Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager at the National AIDS/STI Control Programme (NACP), has appealed to the public to support People Living with HIV and AIDS in the communities to help reduce stigmatization and discrimination.

He stressed the need to intensify the education on prevention until a cure or vaccine is found to prevent new infections or reduce the number of HIV-positive patients.

“We are calling on civil society groups, chiefs, religious and traditional leaders, to help to talk about it in the community so that we prevent HIV infections,” Dr. Ayisi Addo stated at the Fifth Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office project dubbed, “GNA-Tema Stakeholder Engagement and Workers Appreciation Day,” seminar at Tema.

The event is a progressive media caucus platform rolled out for state and non-state actors to address national issues and also served as a motivational mechanism to recognize the editorial contribution of reporters towards national development in general and growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as the industrial news hub.

Dr. Ayisi Addo speaking on the topic: “Workplace policy on HIV/AIDS, who enforces it: Legal basis for churches demanding HIV/AIDS test from would-be partners? Role of partners of an infected individual,” called for an enabling environment to motivate people to know their status.

The NACP Programme Manager noted that, unlike other conditions, HIV was cumulative, so anyone who tested positive will be adding to the numbers and over time it will become overwhelming.

He also advised HIV patients on treatment to adhere to their schedule because as long as they take their medication, the virus was suppressed, undetectable, and cannot be transmitted, while when they withdraw the virus comes back again.

“The message now is there is treatment so even if you know your status, it is not a death sentence,” he said.

He noted that whereas the face of HIV had changed, the problem still persisted and there were conditions to continue to stay healthy even when one tested positive.

Dr. Ayisi Addo encouraged people to access testing and not wait till fall sickness sets in before visiting the hospital, stating that there were about 380,000 people living with HIV in Ghana, but not all of them are aware.

In addition, he said that people living with HIV had the same life expectancy even more than other people because of treatment.

Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Regional Manager, Ghana News Agency, Tema, said the Agency’s Regional Office had shaped itself as a vanguard for industrial communication and a catalyst for change to promote national development.

He said with Tema as an industrial nerve of the country, it was reasonable for the GNA regional office to position itself to become the frontline of industrial communication to advance the country’s growth.

Therefore, he noted that the regional office of the Agency had developed systematic pillars, which pragmatic journalism hinged on; including a mechanism to deepen the working relationship with its stakeholders, to ensure that both the media and the corporate world worked towards national development.

Mr. Ameyibor disclosed that, as part of efforts to deepen national cohesion and promote the cultural heritage of Tema and its environs through diversity, the GNA regional office was packaging traditional news as it had already engaged some Traditional Council in that regard.

He said the office had begun the “Tracking of Development Projects” initiative in some selected districts as part of a crusade to enhance accountability and deepen grassroots participation in local government.

“The project seeks to improve policy management and decision-making systems in the country to ensure that policy analysis processes, impacts, and the feedback systems necessary for effective executive decision making are adhered to,” he added.

Other speakers include Mr. Fred Asiedu Dartey, GSA Head of Freight and Logistics who spoke on: “Emerging trends in Ghana’s maritime industry – the perspective of the Ghana Shippers Authority”.

The rest were: Mr. Timothy Anyidoho a Senior Staff of the Lands Commission and Mr. George Okwabi Frimpong, members of the Licensed Surveyors Association of Ghana, spoke on: “the authority in charge of the management of stool or skin, clan or family lands; role of Customary Land Secretariat; Systems of recording and registering land and interests in land; What is electronic conveyancing; and Procedures under the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 201”.