Cultural Background

The stigma with buying condoms makes it almost impossible to buy condoms in convenience stores or pharmacies. Often the condoms are locked behind glass windows behind the counter so anyone interested in purchasing condoms must ask for assistance. This is often embarrassing and people pass judgement.  Police are beginning to carry condoms to normalize the use of condoms.

image found: www.fightaidsghana.org

There are many circumstances that contribute to the HIV/AIDS related stigma in Ghana including:

1.)HIV/AIDS is life-threatening disease which induces strong reactions.

2.) HIV/AIDS is associated homosexuality, drug addiction, promiscuity and prostitution by many people.

3.)Many myths about how HIV is transmitted creates irrational misconceptions.

4.)There are many moral or religious beliefs that lead some to believe that having HIV is that persons fault and they deserve to be punished.

5.)HIV/AIDS is a relatively new disease which contributes to the fear of an epidemic.

Overall, these different stigmas deters people from getting tested,undermines condom use, and stops people who are HIV positive from seeking treatment. Also. there is a lack of power in women, and they are not free to ask their own husbands to wear condoms. It is often socially acceptable for married men to have several sexual partners.

Women interviewed in a study to see how the Attitudes and Behaviors of Female sex workers relates to HIV/AIDS prevention said “(1) sex work is hard, (2) they felt God would protect their health, (3) staying safe is a gift and a priority, (4) sex work allows for autonomy, and (5)AIDS-related stigma is very real”

The women interviewed said there was no where women could get condoms for free in Ghana and they are often eembarrassed buying condoms. Only recently, have condoms become available to purchase without having to ask the shopkeeper to get them from behind the counter.