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29.04.2004 Regional News

Minister expresses concern about the spread of HIV/AIDS

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Kumasi, April 29, GNA- Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister has stated that Ghana has not experienced any significant behavioural change among its citizenry despite all the awareness creation in the country.

He observed that trend in the HIV prevalence keeps on rising with the youth being the most infected.

"On the contrary, they lead rather promiscuous lives which leave much to be desired", he said.

These were contained in a speech read on his behalf at the closing session of a three-day Pre-Bangkok National Youth Consultative Conference on, "Access For All-Ghana (HIV/AIDS) prevention project held in Kumasi on Wednesday.

It was organised by the National Youth Council (NYC) and sponsored by UNICEF, UNFPA and African Youth Alliance (AYA) Ghana and attended by Regional and District Co-ordinators of the NYC and representatives from youth groups from the 10 regions of the country.

The conference enabled the 75 participants the opportunity to share ideas about the gaps in access to HIV prevention, information, skills and services.

It also enabled them to express their concerns about the limited access to AIDS prevention services, all with the view to preparing a national document to be sent to the International Conference in Bangkok this year.

Mr Boafo said the nation counted on them to seriously advocate in their various communities and workplaces for a change in their sex behaviour.

"If the current trend continues, then by 2014 the number of HIV/AIDS cases could increase from 35,000 cases in 2000 to about 1.2 million in 2014", he said.

Mr Joseph Mantey, the National Co-ordinator of the Youth Council stressed that youth development and environment required utilisation of resources to address them.

This he said the government alone could not do and called for private sector participation to enable the NYC to support the effective development of the youth in the country.

Mr Mantey emphasised that the programme was a challenge to NYC and that he was very satisfied with its success.

Alhaji Nabilla Mohammed, Upper West Regional Youth Co-ordinator who presided, called on development partners and the government of Ghana to provide mor=E9 resources to enhance the programmes of the NYC.

He also called for regular capacity building programmes for youth groups of the NYC.

Mr Abass Salifu, the course prefect and president of the League of Youth Associations in the Northern Region called for the training of more health personnel for People Living With the HIV/AIDS. 29 April 04

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