22.06.2005 Regional News

Workshop to evaluate impact of AIDS programmes on communities

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Saltpond, June 22, GNA - Mr Jonathan Benefo, Mfantseman District Focal Person on HIV/AIDS, has appealed to the media to avoid sensationalism in reports on HIV/AIDS.

The media, he said should also source their information on HIV/AIDS from recognised bodies. Mr Benefo said the situation where the disease was made to look like a dreadful monster was not helping in the efforts to curb it. He made the appeal at an HIV/AIDS evaluation workshop organised by Hope for Future Generations, a non-governmental organisation based at Mankessim.

The Mfantseman District HIV/AIDS Coordinator Ms Christine Antoh, the District Social Welfare Office and the District Youth Coordinator were among those who attended the workshop to evaluate the impact of their HIV/AIDS prevention programmes on the communities in which they were operating.

Mr Benefo said if the disease was treated like any other, it would alley the fears of the people living with it. "They do not want to be identified because of stigmatisation," he said.

Ms Antoh advised religious groups which have made HIV testing a pre-condition for contracting marriages to stop the practice since HIV testing was voluntary.

Ms Antoh said the test should also not be made a condition for engaging persons in employment. Miss Gladys Amegbletor, Officer in charge of the Mankessim Area Plan Ghana HIV/AIDS Programmes appealed to the District Assembly, the Ghana AIDS Commission and donor agencies to provide more HIV testing equipment to make the exercise more accessible.

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