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04.12.2004 Regional News

80 tested HIV positive last year in Afigya-Sekyere District

By GNA

Asamang, (Ash), Dec. 4, GNA-Eighty out of the 150 persons screened for HIV in the Afigya-Sekyere District last year, were found to be positive Miss Margaret O. Offei, Acting Afigya-Sekyere District Director of Health Services who disclosed this said however, in 2004, out of the 120 persons screened for the disease, 71 of them tested positive. Miss Offei made the disclosure when she spoke on the topic "HIV/AIDS, care and support", at a programme held at Asamang on Friday, to commemorate the World AIDS day, under the theme "Preventing the Youth from HIV/AIDS and securing a better future".

The programme was jointly organized by the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) and the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), to create more awareness about the danger the pandemic posed to humanity.

Miss Offei said the figures were just the tip of the iceberg since many people were not reporting such cases to the health institutions. She said even though there was a decline in those who reported with the disease this year, it is still a fact that the menace was fast spreading and making children lose both parents and thereby making them orphans.

Miss Offei said, for instance in 2002, the District recorded 15 orphans who lost both parents as a result of AIDS, with 15 orphans recorded last year, and this year accounting for 34 orphans.

She disagreed that the disease was caused by either spiritual forces or curses, stressing that it is a physical sickness just like any other disease, only that it is incurable but could be managed. Dr. (Mrs) Frances Thalma Kwabea Owusu-Daako, President of the PPAG, said in spite of the numerous interventions and awareness creation campaigns about the menace, HIV continues to spread at an alarming rate.

She said, "this will however not deter us from continuing our campaign drives, but will rather challenge us to intensify such campaigns until the disease is brought under control".

Dr. Owusu-Daako however, stressed the need for people to avoid multiple sexual partners and casual sex, especially the youth, to help protect themselves against falling victim to HIV/AIDS.

A drama was later performed by the youth groups to portray the cause of HIV and how to protect oneself against the menace.

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