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10.11.2004 General News

Leaders urged to go for voluntary HIV tests

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Accra, Nov. 10, GNA - An HIV/AIDS expert on Wednesday called on leaders spearheading the crusade against the AIDS epidemic to take the lead in going in for voluntary counselling and testing for the HIV/AIDS virus to encourage others to follow suit.

Mr. Sam Anyimadu-Amaning, Director of the Ghana Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations working on HIV/AIDS (GHANET), said it was pointless for such leaders to show the way if they did not muster the courage to voluntarily test for the virus to enable them to serve as disciples of what they preach.

Speaking at a three-day international conference on AIDS in Africa, Mr. Anyimadu-Amaning said politicians should also lead the way if they were to make an impact in driving home messages on AIDS prevention. The conference being organised by the Miracle Rock Foundation (MIROF), an NGO, is under the theme, "HIV/AIDS And Human Rights -The Way Forward."

Mr Kofi Amposah-Bediako, Government Spokesperson on Social Services, said upholding the human rights of people living with the virus was crucial in ensuring their very survival.

He said human rights issue is a sensitive subject but its observance was important for the survival of all peoples in ensuring development.

Mr Amposah-Bediako said it was the aim of government to reduce the prevalence rate of the disease from its current figure of 3.4 per cent. In this direction, he said, government had already given legal backing to the Ghana AIDS Commission and also provided it with funds to enable it to move the battle against the pandemic forward.

Dr Sylvia Annie, Director in Charge of Policy and Planning at the Ghana

AIDS Commission, said the month of November had been set aside for free voluntary counselling and testing in all regional hospitals. She urged society to work hard at doing away with stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with the virus.

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