In Ghana attending the Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness, UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot also visited the headquarters of the Ghana Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+) on 3 September where he met civil society groups active in responding to the country’s AIDS epidemic.

Members from Ghana Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+), the Society for Women against AIDS in Africa-Ghana (SWAA) and the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights-Ghana (CEPEHRG) shared with Dr Piot the scope of their work in the country, where, in 2007, an estimated 260,000 people were living with HIV in Ghana and 21,000 died of AIDS-related illnesses.

The three organizations work jointly and with other civil society groups to provide access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services and to promote the health, wellbeing and human rights of those living with HIV.

In the lively exchanges with Dr Piot, NAP+ members explained its role as an umbrella organization for all groups active in improving the lives of people living with HIV. SWAA, as an organization dedicated to women and their families, provided an overview of the activities it carries out in six of Ghana’s ten regions, including its “positive living toolkit”, while CEPEHRG members spoke on their efforts to generate awareness around, and protect, human rights for marginalized groups, in particular men who have sex with men.

CEPEHRG’s community-based outreach initiatives have received recognition both nationally and internationally – most recently at the 2008 International AIDS Conference in Mexico City, where it was singled out from other Red Ribbon Award winners for special recognition for its work with men who have sex with men.