Tema, April 17, GNA - A female Person Living With HIV/AIDS virus on Saturday called on people living with the virus to gather the courage to make their status public to help curb the spread of the disease. Giving an account as to how she encountered the virus at a day's workshop on HIV/AIDS at Lashibi, near Tema, she noted that failure of the victims to come out to declare their status because of stigmatisation contributes to the fast spread of the menace.
The workshop was organised by Excell Foundation, a non-governmental organisation for various churches at Lashibi and its environs on the "Prevention of HIV/AIDS with emphasis on behavioural change among the youth"
According to her, she contracted the virus in Nigeria nine years ago through blood transfusion during child birth and her husband and friends deserted her, "but I braved through the odds to expose my status to educate the public on the dangers of stigmatisation."
She said but for that she could spread the disease because the menace has not changed her structure or deformed her in any way because of good diet and the intake of the anti-retroviral drug.
The victim however, called for thorough screening of blood and if possible import modern equipment that can test the virus instantly unlike the present situation where people would test and go for the result at later date since the virus could be spread within time-frame of waiting for the result.
Mrs Angela Kodua Nyanor, Public Health Nurse at the Tema General Hospital called on parents to do away with shyness and educate their children on the consequences of having for premature and unprotected sex to enable them make informed decision which would go a long way to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.
In orientating children on sex education however, Mrs Nyanor who is also an HIV/AIDS Focal Person urged parents and adults to talk to them in plain and simple language because they may find it difficult to understand the message, moreover experience show that children are well informed about sex.
She advised churches against making AIDS test a mandatory for aspiring couples since they would be infringing on their human rights, however, they should preach constantly on counselling for them to make informed decisions.
Mrs Nyanor called for proper preservation of condoms which should be at cool temperatures to prolong their lifespan, adding that ideally abstinence is appropriate but condoms come into play when people cannot control their sexual urge.
The participants held the view that people who have unprotected sex should not go for blood donation within weeks after the act since HIV virus takes longer time to detect.
Mrs Cecilia Hughes Osafo, Programme Coordinator of the Excell Foundation said they aim at helping to combat the pandemic and have intensified their education in areas at Tema Manhean, Community One, Sakumono and Adjei Kojo areas in Tema West constituency of the municipality.
The participants were drawn from the Ebenezer Methodist, Baptist International, Presbyterian and Bethel Christian Churches. 17 April 05