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08.07.2004 General News

Introduce second cycle students to use of condom

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Koforidua (E/R), July 8, GNA - The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and the Ghana Education Service have been called upon to promote education and usage of condoms in second cycle institutions.

"If Ghana is to make strides at HIV/AIDS prevention, then it is important for religious leaders, politicians, parents and teachers to reconsider their outright condemnation of the promotion of condom education among young people," Mr Boateng Mensah, Executive Director of Philip Foundation Programme (PFP) a non-governmental organisation said on Thursday.

Mr Mensah told a workshop on: "Fight Against HIV/AIDS in Schools," at Koforidua attended by Health Education Programme Coordinators, Parent Teacher Association Chairmen and District AIDS Focal Persons and Peer Educators.

He debunked the perception that the introduction of condom usage in second cycle institutions would promote promiscuous life and lead to moral degeneration in society.

Mr Mensah said the issues of condom education and its correct usage formed an integral part of the global crusade against the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

He observed that while the issue of abstinence among the youth was being intensified, "the simple truth is that, the number of sexually active young people who are daily exposed to the risk continue to rise.

"These young adults, who don't have the courage to abstain from pre-marital sex, must be encouraged to use condoms as stopgap." Mr Mensah, however, urged students, the youth and teenagers to strive to abstain from pre-marital sex and concentrate on acquiring skills for their future.

Mr Daniel Akwasi Amankwah of Narcotics Control Board, who spoke on: "Relationship Between Drug Abuse and the Spread of AIDS," said substance abuse and HIV/AIDS were bedfellows.

He said; "when somebody is under the influence of substances like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin and some psychotropic drugs, the person's behaviour changes".

Such a person may find it difficult to follow the basic prevention steps of HIV/AIDS - Abstain from sex; being faithful to one's partner and proper use of condoms.

Mr Amankwah stressed that some of the substances abused were stimulants that whet the sexual appetite of the user and at the same time weakening his/her reasoning power, inhibition and self-control. The Eastern Regional AIDS Focal Person, Miss Golda Asante commended PFP and World Education for organising the workshop.

The participants were from Fanteakwa, New Juaben, Suhum-Kraboa-Coaltar, Manya Krobo and Yilo Krobo Districts.