Reverend John Azumah and his now late wife, Mrs Lydia Azumah have been living with HIV for 21 years and they have been a clear example of the fact that living with HIV is not a death sentence.
In 2001, the status of Rev. John Azumah, a former associate pastor of the Methodist Church of Ghana was made known to the whole church by his head pastor and being expelled subsequently, Rev. Azumah and his loving wife went ahead and did what is now considered as the greatest work of philanthropy in the world of HIV.
Though nothing is known about their life before HIV, it is known that Rev. John and Mrs Lydia Azumah tested positive for HIV/AIDS in 2001 at the Tema General Hospital.
Mrs Azumah, who was pregnant with their second child was constantly sick when the journey of pregnancy started and after 13 weeks of hospital trips, they were advised to take the HIV test and both of them tested positive.
Rev. Azumah who was heartbroken by the sudden turn in their health confided in his head pastor but received the shock of his life when the head pastor announced his health status in the church and went ahead to announce that he could not work with Rev. Azumah anymore.
Rev. John Azumah who had the option of suing the pastor and the church decided against taking legal action and moved out of the community where they stayed and worshipped to his current abode at Ashaiman in the Tema metropolis.
Recounting events of his journey with HIV, Rev. Azumah mentioned that his wife at a point had wanted to take her own life as a result of stigma and discrimination they faced after their HIV status was made public by their former head pastor.
It was so bad to the point that, various traders and shop owners in the community would not sell to them.
Rev. and Mrs Azumah after moving to Ashaiman decided to set up an orphanage for motherless HIV positive babies and a charity foundation which they named Heart to Heart Foundation and orphanage.
Not wanting to give up on the call of God on their lives, Rev/Mrs. Azumah went ahead and established their own church, Hope International Ministry on the Spintex road where they have been propagating the word of God for over 15 years now.
Watch the interview (video) below:
Rev. Azumah, though has been through a lot with his HIV status still stands tall in the fight against stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS and indeed he seems to be winning that particular battle gradually as a lot of people are beginning to realize that HIV is really not as bad as it has always been thought to be.
In October 2021, Rev. Azumah lost his beautiful wife, Mrs Lydia Azumah after battling with a short illness and was buried in November 2021.
Mrs Azumah was described as the mother of all persons living with HIV in Ghana as the couple provided a shoulder to lean on when it comes to issues concerning HIV/AIDS.
Rev. Azumah continues to run and manage the Heart to Heart Foundation and Orphanage in Ashaiman single-handedly after the demise of Mrs Azumah.