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14.07.2005 Health

First Lady urges women to join the campaign against HIV/AIDS

First Lady urges women to join the campaign against HIV/AIDS

Elubo (W/R), July 14, GNA - Mrs Theresa Kufuor, the First Lady, has called on women to play meaningful roles in the campaign against HIV/AIDS.

She said this on Wednesday at a one-day workshop on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Stigma for school children, traditional rulers, and peer educators of the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor HIV/AIDS project and security personnel at the Elubo border.

It was under the theme "A Person with HIV/AIDS Can Live a Positive Life" and was organised by The Mother and Child Community Development Foundation and Fountain of Life Care.

Mrs Kufuor, a Patron of the Mother and Child Community Development Foundation, said the role of women in the campaign could not be under-estimated because women are most affected by the disease. She said women give birth and bring up children so they are in better position to educate and protect children from the disease. Mrs Kufuor said the success of the campaign against the disease, therefore, depended on women who had to live up to this responsibility. She advised the youth to abstain from sex until they get married and to join associations like Virgins Clubs to assist them to achieve this goal.

Mrs Kufuor appealed to those who are about to get married and those who are unsure about their HIV/AIDS status to undergo Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT).

Dr Roland Sowah, Western Regional HIV/AIDS/STI Coordinator, said the region would start anti-retroviral therapy by August and medical officers are being trained on the administration of the drug. He said 76,000 HIV/AIDS cases have been recorded throughout the country.

Dr Sowah said strong language used by HIV/AIDS campaigners had contributed to the stigmatisation and discrimination against people living with the disease and urged the Ghana AIDS Commission to come out with standard handbook and messages for campaigners. Mrs Olivia Opoku-Adomah, Regional HIV/AIDS Focal Person, said the region has the second highest rate of HIV/AIDS infections after the Eastern Region.

She said HIV/AIDS cases at the Eikwe Hospital has gone up and attributed the high rate of the disease in the region to cultural beliefs and socio-cultural practices.

Mrs Opoku-Adomah said despite the prevalence rate of the disease in the region people has not changed their life styles.