Care and Support for Persons Living with HIV and AIDS

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HIV is a viral infection and medically speaking AIDS is the consequence of a viral infection. However, the issues raised by the epidemic are far from purely medical or clinical. They touch on cultural norms and practices, issues of gender, human responsibility, poverty and sexuality.

Now in its third decade, the epidemic has claimed many lives. In Ghana, many people have been infected with HIV since it was first diagnosed in the country in 1986 and recorded by the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP). Behind every statistics is an individual and behind every individual is a network of relationships-family and community. Whether measured against the yardstick of deteriorating child survival, crumbling life expectancy, overburdened health care-system, increasing orphan hood, or bottom-line losses to business, AIDS has never posed a bigger threat to development than now.

Managing the challenges of HIV/AIDS such as orphans care is increasingly becoming a challenge because of the inability of the extended family system to play its traditional role of providing for their survival and development needs. Orphans and vulnerable children as well as persons living with HIV and AIDS, need social protection and support services within a framework that is integrated and focus on the family and linkages to other livelihoods that are sustainable and equitable.

Prevention and Care and Support are mutually reinforcing. This program therefore aim among others to provide education and livelihood skills opportunities to comprehensively address the increasing impact of HIV on women, children and the youth both in terms of their greater risk to exposure, increasing negative impact on their lives and how best families, communities and groups can respond to the challenges.

Our care and support programme is focused on Northern Ghana(Upper West,East and Northern) regions  that do not have the same access to services as people in other areas in the country. It takes into accounts National, Regional, Religious and Demographic differences in the nature and scope of the problem as well as the medical aspects of the illness for the infected and their social networks. The aim is to improve the nutrition and health status of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV) through:

  • Emergency, food basket schemes,
  • Funding support to pay for life saving drugs and access to basic health services such as the treatment of opportunistic infections as covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS)
  • Facilitate the formation and build the capacity of support groups in self-help management, positive living strategies and other basic care and support pre-requisites.
  • Build the capacities of care givers, families and communities as a sustainable way of dealing with the orphans and vulnerable crisis
  • Orphans Education sponsorships  and livelihood support of the  Care Givers.

Research has found that many PLHIV are unaware that there are others just like them living with the virus. Learning that others are experiencing the same things, have had the same feelings, and are dealing with the same realities on daily basis can be very effective in decreasing PLHIV sense of isolation and hopelessness. By hearing about other PLHIV experiences and sharing their own, group members may also be able to think about alternatives to their situations.

Through the support groups, members are often relieved to discover that their reactions to their diagnosis, are "normal" for their situations, and that others also feel afraid, helpless, angry, guilty, ashamed, and responsible for their condition.

AIDs Impact Model, 2004
Source: AIDs Impact Model, 2004