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10.10.2003 Regional News

Commercial sex thwarting Anti-HIV/AIDS efforts in Upper West

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Wa, Oct. 10, GNA - The practising of commercial sex activities by young girls in the Wa township, has become a major affront to efforts aimed at reducing the rate of spread of HIV/AIDS in the Upper West Region.

Alhaji Zaidu Taminu, regional monitoring and evaluation focal person on the disease, who said this, expressed regret that out of 75 people who were tested for the disease at the Wa Regional Hospital between January and May this year, 45 of them were positive.

He made this known when he delivered a paper on "HIV Prevalence and Control Strategies in the Upper West Region" at a a day's seminar on Reproductive Health for media personnel in the region at Wa on Friday. Organised by the Regional Secretariat of the National Population Council, the participants were also taken through adolescent reproductive service delivery strategies in the Wa District by officials from the Wa District Health Management Team.

Alhaji Taminu said out of 100 pregnant women who were tested for the disease in 2001 at Nandom Hospital, over 40 of them were positive, while during the same period, 102 pregnant women tested positive out of 204 at the Wa Regional Hospital.

He described the situation as alarming and called on traditional rulers, the clergy and health workers to collaborate with focal persons to fight the disease.

Prominent among issues that drew prolonged comments from participants was the reluctance of medical personnel to release information on HIV/AIDS victims, which they often termed as classified. The participants urged them to make such information available to the public since it could serve the dual goal of scaring people from illicit sex and at the same time serve as a check on the spread of the disease.

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