Ambassador Gene Cretz’s Thoughts On Intl. Day for Tolerance

US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gene A. Cretz ? ?
US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gene A. Cretz ? ?

On November 16th the world community will observe the 19th International Day for Tolerance. While we are reminded of the security and human rights implications of intolerance (which often takes the form of stigma and discrimination), this day also provides an opportunity to highlight the vital contribution of tolerance and acceptance to achieving important public health objectives and impacts, especially those focusing on groups living on the margins of many societies.

US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gene A. Cretz ? ?
US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Gene A. Cretz

The U.S. government is proud to partner with the people and Government of Ghana to implement the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and help achieve an AIDS-free generation. In recent months, we have worked tirelessly to align our resources and programs with both the Ghana government’s priorities and PEPFAR’s commitment to delivering the right things, in the right places, at the right time. This also involves careful planning to ensure that we are reaching the right people with urgently needed programs, resources, and funding.

Here in Ghana, tolerance is key to providing access to care for people who are at high risk of either acquiring or transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Among other groups, this includes men and women sex workers; men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons; and people who inject drugs. We must recognize that eliminating stigma and discrimination is critical to ensuring that all people feel safe accessing HIV/AIDS care and treatment services. Programs that treat people with dignity and respect will have the greatest impact.

On this International Day for Tolerance, let us affirm that all persons and any group that suffers the negative health effects of stigma and discrimination should also be free to access and receive essential health services from providers who treat them with dignity and respect.

I call on all partners in our shared goal of controlling HIV in Ghana to steer clear of stigma and discrimination as it infringes on the fundamental human rights of all persons, and to instead practice tolerance in all aspects of service delivery. The goal of an AIDS-free generation will remain unfulfilled until every Ghanaian feels that he or she will be treated with tolerance and respect when seeking services to preserve health if already infected, to prevent infection of others, or to escape the grasp of addicting drugs.

Join me in reaching out in tolerance to everyone in need so that together, we may achieve that longed-for goal of an AIDS-free generation in Ghana.

By: Ambassador Gene A. Cretz

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