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04.05.2005 Regional News

Presbyterian Youth fights AIDS through skill acquisition

By GNA

Koforidua, May 4, GNA - A five-day workshop aimed at training some Presbyterian youths in batik, tie and dye and to conscientise them on behavioural change has opened at Koforidua.

The workshop, which is being organised by the Department of Development and Social Services of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), is a strategy devised to fight HIV/AIDS through skill acquisition by the church.

The Programme Co-ordinator of HIV/AIDS Youth-Component, Mr Richard Tettey Dorhetso, briefing the media on Tuesday, noted that the fight against the HIV/AIDS was becoming difficult to win among the youth, because they consider AIDS programmes as unnecessary or do not have time for them.

He said as a way of getting the youth actively involved in the fight against the pandemic and for them to partake in its programme, the youth are being trained in skill acquisition and through that, they are counselled and advised on behavioural change. The 30 participants, who were drawn from the Ashanti, Dangbe-Tongu and the Akuapem Presbyteries, would be taken through topics such as Friendship and Love, Abstinence and How to Resist Peer Pressure among others.

Mr Dorhetso said as Christian youth, who are part of the society, there was the need to teach them some of the risks involved in engaging in sex in their youthful days and the need for behavioural change, adding, this is the Church's bid to fight the dreadful HIV/AIDS menace. He said Ghanaians need to talk about sex and its implications on the youth and not to consider it as a taboo as was perceived in the past, if the quest for minimizing HIV/AIDS infection was to be realized. Mr Dorhetso said as part of the training programme, the trainees would also be taught how to care and support people living with the HIV/AIDS, so as to reduce the stigma.

Earlier, the Presbyterian Youth Co-ordinator, Rev. Owusu Ansah, advised the participants to impact the skills and the knowledge that would be acquired during the training programme to their peers. He said they should not also see the training programmes as only a way of acquiring skills but as a means of having a livelihood.

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