The President of Gambia Network of AIDS Support Society, GAMNASS Fatima Gai has urged the Media to join their efforts in support of people living with HIV/AIDS against stigma and discrimination.
Speaking during the opening of a three-day training for Health Journalists on “Gender, Human Rights and HIV/ AIDS” at GAMNASS Office in Banjul, she said HIV/AIDS should be everyone’s business and the media has an important role to play in creating awareness and sensitization to change the perception and understanding of the people on HIV/AIDS.
“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 disclosed there status,” she said.
“People living with the virus should not be stigmatize neither been discriminated within the community and the family levels, they need to be given the hope and dignity they deserved.”
Mr. Dawda Joof, the Global Fund Programme Officer Action Aid International-The Gambia recognises the role of journalist in 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 curial 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,” he said.
Mr. Nuha Ceesay, UNAIDS Country Officer in Banjul stressed that the major cause of stigma is “ignorance and lack of understanding” of the forms of transmission of the HIV virus.
He blamed religious, traditional believes, misperception, misinformation of HIV/AIDS and poverty for the continued challenges faced in trying to achieve “Universal Access and Human Rights. Source – The Voice