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12.12.2004 Regional News

B/A marks World AIDS Day

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Dormaa-Ahenkro (B/A), Dec. 12, GNA - Mr. Yaw Adjei-Duffour, the Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister has urged all agencies involved in the HIV/AIDS sensitization and management to devise more innovative and sustainable projects and programmes that will effectively get messages to their targets with ease.

Mr. Adjei-Duffour has also called for a more female-oriented attention aimed at protecting women who by their peculiar biological make up are more susceptible to HIV infection than their male counterparts.

The deputy Regional Minister made the call at this year's Brong-Ahafo Regional function to mark World Aids Day at Dormaa-Ahenkro under the theme: "Women, Girls and HIV/AIDS: Protecting women and girls from the spread of HIV/AIDS".

Mr. Adjei-Duffuor said records have indicated that 57 per cent of adults living with the HIV virus in Sub-Saharan Africa are females while the same sex suffers a 50 percent world-wide proportion.

He blamed the high rate of female HIV infection, partially on high unemployment among women, the rise in polygamy, female genital mutilation and women's poor negotiation skills in terms of use of condoms and other safe sex devices, adding that these factors often get compounded by stigmatisation, excessive discrimination against women and their unequal access to medication.

Mr. Adjei-Duffuor expressed regret that more Ghanaians have persistently refused to heed the clarion call for attitudinal change even though a 2003 Ghana demographic and health survey had indicated that 99 percent of the sexually active population of the country have some knowledge about the HIV/AIDS menace.

He commended the innovation where carriers of the virus were assisting the Ghana Aids Commission's efforts through testimonies to drive home the importance being attached to the message and the need for Ghanaians to thread cautiously.

Alhaji Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim, the Regional Director of Health Services announced that the region has recorded a total of 1,329 HIV cases in 2004 alone while the region's infection rate has shot up to four percent.

Dr. Bin Ibrahim called for a national debate to consider prescribing stiffer penalties for those who might engage in activities that have the potential to exacerbate the spread of the scourge. He appealed to the Ghana Aids Commission (GAC), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Religious Organisations, Educational Institutions, Traditional Leaders and Civil Society to intensify their campaigns this time with the emphasis on behavioural change.

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