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21.09.2004 Regional News

HIV/AIDS workshop held for traditional and religious leaders

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Kade (E/R), Sept 21, GNA- About 6,941 fresh cases of HIV/AIDS were recorded in health facilities in eight regions of the country between January and June last year.

The figure did not, however, include data from the Volta and Northern Regions.

This was disclosed by Mr Frederick Ofosu, Fanteakwa District Director of Health Services at an HIV/AIDS workshop for traditional and religious leaders in the Kwaebibirem District. It was organized by A and Y Foundation, an NGO, at Kade.

Mr Ofosu said research indicated that about four percent of the adult population in those regions was infected by the pandemic, saying the Kwaebibirem District which recorded 111 cases between January and June 2003, recorded 229 cases during the same period in 2004. On the average, 38 persons were infected with the disease each month in the Kwaebibirem District, saying their ages ranged between 20 and 49.

Addressing the workshop, Mr Boaz Ahulu, the Kwaebibrem District Disease Control Officer, said everyone had a role to play in reducing the spread of the disease.

Mr Ahulu cautioned against stigmatisation and discrimination against those with the disease.

He maintained that the disease is spread mainly through unprotected sex, blood transfusion and use of contaminated sharps objects such as needles and razor blades.

The Chairperson of A and Y Foundation, Miss Akoto Ofori-Atta, said the organisation formed about four years ago to contribute effectively towards the reduction of the spread of the disease had inaugurated virgin clubs in schools in the District.

Mr Francis Poku, treasurer of the Foundation said the emphasis of the campaign was behavioural change and care and support of persons living with it.

He said the organisation was presently caring for 30 children who became orphans as a result of their parents dying of the disease.

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