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28.03.2004 Regional News

Agona Assembly members educated on HIV/AIDS

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Agona Swedru (C/R), March 28, GNA - The Country Director of John Hopkins University, Dr Emmanuel Fiagbe has called on people engaged in the fight of HIV/AIDS to discourage publicising known prevalence figures of nations, communities and institutions.

Dr Fiagbe held the view that publicising prevalence figures might lead to the stigmatisation of people of such countries, communities or institutions.

Speaking at a workshop organised by the Agona District AIDS Committee for the members of the District Assembly at Agona Swedru, Dr Fiagbe said no one would like to marry from a community, which has high HIV/AIDS prevalence figures.

He called on Ghanaians not to allow the disease scare them away from their programmes but rather they should accept that the disease is real and participate in the campaign against it.

The Country Director advised Ghanaians to go for Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) to enable them know their HIV status, adding that their past lives should not scare them from going in for the test. "People who do not know their status are more dangerous than those who have tested positive, he said.

Dr Fiagbe urged assembly members to play the roles of partnership building, advocacy and mobilisation, reformation of traditional norms and other practices that promote the spread of HIV/AIDS.

They should work at promoting care and support for people living with the disease as their contributions towards the fight of the disease. Mr John Kwesi Agyabeng, Agona District Chief Executive (DCE), said discrimination and stigmatisation sends AIDS patients faster to their graves than the disease itself.

He advised Ghanaians to treat people living with the disease as they do to those who are suffering from malaria.