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19.07.2005 Health

Public's knowledge on HIV/AIDS is very shallow - Study

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Accra, July 19, GNA - A study conducted by the Demographic Health Survey and UNAIDS has revealed that the public's in-depth knowledge about HIV/AIDS is very shallow.

The study indicated that though awareness creation and knowledge were very high, in-depth knowledge had moved from 86 per cent to 35 per cent, showing a drastic fall.

Dr Nii Akwei Addo, Programme Manager of the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), revealed this in Accra at the Adventists Development Relief Agency (ADRA) second media launch of HIV/AIDS educational materials on Tuesday.

The materials, which would be used to give the public information, education, and communication (IEC) as well as behavioural communication change on HIV/AIDS, is grouped into drama, video documentary, music album and skin manifestation showing all the opportunistic infections associated with HIV/AIDS.

The Project funded by the United States Department for Agriculture (USDA) is aimed at ensuring behavioural change among Ghanaians regarding HIV/AIDS.

Dr Akwei Addo said though there was a slight reduction in the country's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate from 3.6 per cent to 3.1 per cent, there was still a rise in the cases, which had not been recorded. "What we have is just based on reported cases and there is the need for us to at least to see a three-year persistent drop in the prevalence rate before we could be satisfied."

He explained that Ghana had moved beyond "dancing around and floating with placards.

"What we need now is a real behavioural change and we should do that by talking about HIV/AIDS with our families and in groups." Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Chief Executive of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, said the world had been plagued with communicable and treatable diseases that could be cured but "we have this HIV added to it which has no cure".

He suggested that prevention should be adopted by all as a means of reducing the spread of the disease.

Mr Eric Pwadura, Public Affairs Officer of the Ghana AIDS Commission, urged the youth to control their sexual lives for a brighter future without HIV/AIDS.

"Remember that your life is precious to yourself, your family and the nation."

Pastor Samuel Asante-Mensah, Country Director of ADRA, Ghana, said the organisation intended to focus more in the sector of HIV/AIDS where the need was great.

"We believe that increasing access to training in employable skills and provision of material and financial support for the unemployed, the poor, disadvantaged and people living with HIV/AIDS will make a contribution to the reduction in the rate of spread of HIV/AIDS and improve the lives of PLWHA."

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