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08.02.2005 General News

AIDS Commission to focus on high transmission areas

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Aflao, (V/R) Feb. 8, GNA - The Ghana AIDS Commission's campaign towards the prevention of HIV/AIDS would now focus more on high transmission areas in the country.

To this end a research exercise, dubbed, Priorities for Local AIDS Control Efforts (PLACE), was conducted at Aflao considered to be one of the High Transmission Areas (HTA) to facilitate rapid assessment of the HIV/AIDS situation in the area.

PLACE, which would target other high HIV/AIDS transmission areas in the country, seeks to give a more localised scope rather than national outlook to the country's HIV/AIDS prevention effort.

A source close to the fields team told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Aflao, said as part of the research, field officers interact with people found socialising in the HTAs on their sex related lifestyles that are likely to increase HIV infections.

The source said the data gathered was expected to help determine, where there was the greatest potential for preventing new infections. He said some attributes of the HTAs are major transport routes, port and border communities, densely populated poor urban areas, tourist centres, areas with uneven female/male ratio and high commercial activity zones.

The source said before Ketu District in the Volta Region, the exercise was undertaken in Jomoro and Wassa-West districts in the Western Region, New Juaben and Kraboa Coaltar, Eastern Region and Asutifi-North in the Brong-Ahafor Region.

He said traditional rulers, hoteliers, opinion leaders, security personnel and drivers formed the first source of contact for the location of HTAs in the country.

According to the PLACE research preamble, so little was known about local HIV/AIDS epidemics because "HIV surveillance systems are usually natural in scope with little information about the local situation". It also noted that limited access to voluntary and confidential testing services and refusal to test at the local level, lack of funding and capacity, data collection as well as the local stigma on AIDS undermined knowledge about HIV/AIDS situation in communities.

The preamble said HIV epidemics vary from place to place as such PLACE was allowing for individual local adaptation to key decisions.

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