Akim Oda(E/R), Oct. 22, GNA - The Akim Oda Government Hospital has recorded 505 AIDS cases between 1998 and 2003, Mr Yao Amesimeku, Birim South District Focal Person on AIDS has announced.
Mr Amesimeku made this known at the closing ceremony of a two-day training workshop organised by the Universal United Youth, a non-governmental organization for 50 volunteers on HIV/AIDS awareness at Akim Oda on Friday.
He said about 90 percent of the population was aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, adding that the important thing now was behavioural change.
He announced that plans were far advanced for the establishment of an Association of People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in the district to take care of the affected persons in terms of their medical bills, feeding, accommodation as well as support of their families. Mr Amesimeku appealed to AIDS patients to willingly come out to declare their status and to get support to enable them to live longer. The Director of the NGO, Mr Eric Pinamang Asare, advised against stigmatisation and discrimination against AIDS victims. He said should the current discrimination and stigmatisation against patients continue then the million of cedis being sunk into education on the HIV/AIDS would go waste.
Mr Asare said there were many people who would want to know their HIV/AIDS status, but were afraid to do so due to fear of stigma and discrimination should they tested positive.
The Co-ordinator of the NGO, Mr Kwame Seth Twum appealed to individuals to translate their awareness on the HIV/AIDS pandemic into a behavioural change to help reduce the rate of infection in the communities.