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19.07.2005 Health

CEPS re-launches campaign to fight HIV/AIDS

GNA

Kumasi, July 19, GNA - Ghanaians have been told to be more enthusiastic about knowing their HIV/AIDS status through voluntary testing to guide them to take good decisions on their sexual lives. Mr Kwaku Antwi, a Counsellor at the Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), noted that, sufficient knowledge of one's status would make those who do not have the virus avoid the risk of contracting the disease while those diagnosed positive would take care of themselves to prevent re-infection.

This way, the nation would be making significant progress in efforts at bringing down the rate of spread of the disease. He was speaking at the re-launch of the Kumasi Collection Office of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) campaign to check HIV/AIDS infection among officers and men of the service. It is being done with support from the Ghana AIDS Commission. Mr Antwi drew attention to the need for people to heed the advice against unprotected sex and changing of sexual partners, adding that, the best option was total abstinence.

He was not happy with the situation where being infected is seen among most Ghanaians as a sin, saying, such mentality had been responsible for continued stigmatisation of people living with the disease.

This must change, as HIV/AIDS patients deserve, our support, love and sympathy to lead normal lives.

Mr Antwi also advised people having the virus to ensure that they take anti-retroviral drugs prescribed for them and observe personal hygiene since their response to disease treatment is slow. Mr Patrick Oblitey, Co-ordinator of the CEPS HIV/AIDS Programme, said a number of activities would be taken to effect behavioural change among personnel of the Service.

These include holding of weekly staff education durbars, seminars, audio-visual presentations and one-on-one interactions by peer educators to achieve the desired results.

Mr Oblitey said they would spread their activities to cover CEPS officials at the Kubease, Mankranso, Mpasatia, Anhwiankwanta and the Ahenkro checkpoints. July 19 05

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