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26.03.2004 General News

Legon students undertake HIV/AIDS self-examination

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Accra, March 26, GNA - Students of Volta Hall at the University of Ghana, Legon, have undertaken personal self-examination on the risk level of contracting the HIV/AIDS virus.

The self-examination is based on a six-punch questionnaire that seeks answers to common sexual behaviour of the students. The questions are: Do I have a sexual partner? Has my current sexual partner had more than one sexual partner? Do I have more than one faithful or steady partner? Do I use condom only, sometimes or not at all?

The students are also asking themselves whether they take injections without knowing if the needle and syringe are new or have been properly cleaned, and whether they share razor blades or needles with others.

According to Dr Dela Attipoe, HIV/AIDS Resource Person, a person is at risk of contracting the HIV virus if he or she answers yes to any of the questions. "Worse still the more yes answers, the higher the risk". The self-examination exercise formed part of the Hall's 43rd annual week celebration under the theme: "Sexually Transmitted Infections, myths or reality."

The students were also educated on symptoms that doctors look out for when diagnosing HIV/AIDS. These include night sweats, prolonged fever, weight loss and or loss of appetite, protracted dry cough and diarrhoea lasting for more than one month.

Others are swellings around the neck, armpit, and genitalia, whitish spots in the mouth (oral thrush) itching, skin infections and recurring shingles (Ananse).

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Ms Valentina Ami Amados, a level-200 student, advised the youth to abstain from promiscuity and pre-marital sex, which according to experts represent 80 per cent of the mode of transmission.

Ms Amados appealed to non-governmental organisation involved in the campaign against the pandemic to focus also on tertiary institutions, as the youth there are essential to the development of the country and should, therefore, be protected.

Ms Haideeya Yenzoo Abdulai, Volta Hall Treasurer, cautioned students in particular against vices such as drug abuse, promiscuity, armed robbery and prostitution that impede their development. The youth should also take their studies seriously to enable them acquire the requisite qualification and skills for national development, she said.

The Legal Adviser of the Hall, Ms Matilda Malm, said HIV/AIDS poses a threat to national socio-economic development since the youth that form the cream of society are the most vulnerable. The students were also shown striking pictures of both the female and male sexual organs infected with Sexually Transmitted Diseases.