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15.10.2008 Health

Forum on HIV/AIDS held at Awutu Bontrase

By gna

Mr Frank Ekow Longdon, Executive Director, Ghana Renaissance Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), on Wednesday said, “There is only one known cure for HIV/AIDS and the drug is total abstinence”.

“Let us therefore not forget that the best gift and help we can give to our children is to support them to become healthy and useful citizens in society.”

Mr Longdon said this at a day's HIV/AIDS forum, the second to be organised by the NGO with support from the Ghana AIDS Commission in Awutu Bontrase.

It was aimed at throwing more light on the disease and how to stay away from pre-marital sex as well as equipping participants with the requisite knowledge on the disease to enable them to become advocates of the prevention of HIV/AIDS.

The participants were made up of representatives of traditional authorities, the Moslem communities, market women, civil society organisations, teachers and school children.

Mr Longdon said ignorance and misinformation on the disease has made people to believe that the disease does not exist, making it difficult for them to change their lifestyles and also refusing to go for voluntary counselling and testing to know their HIV/AIDS status.

He said a series of programmes and workshops had been organised by different organisations to educate the general public on HIV/AID, especially the youth, on how to lead healthy lifestyles, in order not to contract the illness.

According to Mr Longdon, prevention and change of behaviour can go a long way in curtailing the HIV/AIDS pandemic, adding that, there is the need for each and everyone to join the fight against the spread of the disease.

He said “society should take a serious view of the high rate of the disease and also show love and compassion for the less fortunate people, who have acquired the disease.

“It is the only way we can help control the spread of the disease, because stigmatisation would make the sufferers bitter and they would go about infecting others”.

Mr Emmanuel Marty, Effutu, Municipal Youth Coordinator and Mr Kennedy Frempong, the NGO's Project Coordinator, who were among the facilitators, took the participants through topics such as the causes of HIV/AIDS, effect and damage on the society, protection of victims, behavioural change, advocacy for support from stakeholders, voluntary counselling and testing and other sexually transmitted diseases.