My name is Odell, I am the Ambassador/Advocate with Healthy black communities promised Ghana for the minority and vulnerable persons especially the LGBTQ+ community who are more exposed to HIV/STI and to stigma and discrimination.
12years ago I was diagnosed, I was homeless and jobless. Taking my medication made me hungry and tired. Felts so self-stigmatized and wanted to just die because I felt the world was unfair to me. I saw many friends pass away including my best friend who took me for consultation and testing.
Seeing people close to me die every now and then, I started my research on LGBTQ+ healthcare in Ghana and realized majority of the community seized to go to the hospitals for checkups of any source because of the discrimination they received not only because of their sickness but because of their sexuality. I managed to meet few nurses and many were just not ready to assist because LGBTQ+ persons are abomination by their religious belief, or they don’t entertain LGBTQ+ people because it’s against the law. Long story short I was lucky to meet LGBTQ+ friendly nurses at a polyclinic who gave me the go ahead to give referrals to my community and they will assist them.
So basically I educate and train my LGBTQ+ community on protective and preventive measures, how to wear condoms, abstinence, PrEP use, introduction to antiretroviral drugs which helps to be undetectable in the future which means untransmittable. I also motivate them by using my life as an example, living a healthy and long. I later refer them to the polyclinic where these LGBTQ+ friendly doctors and nurses council them, test them, assist them with free medication and checkups. I love what I’m doing and within these few years I have seen a healthier community. I help people understand that HIV is not a death threat and its only transmitted through exchange of blood and not by hugging or eating from the same plate or talking to each other.
My passion for my advocacy began when I started my research and realized my friends were dying and it will reach my turn if i don't take the necessary action.
For more info check out https://www.hbcpromisedghana.org