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31.07.2005 Regional News

HIV/AIDS abstinence clubs inaugurated at Tepa

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Tepa (Ash), July 31, GNA - The Tepa Traditional Council, together with AFA Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with funding from the Ghana AIDS Commission, is supporting the establishment of HIV/AIDS Abstinence Clubs in 21 basic schools in the Ahafo-Ano North District.

The clubs have a total membership of 500.

Speaking at the inauguration of the clubs at Tepa at the weekend, Mr Julius Kwashie Oddoye, the District Director of Education, said in Ghana children under 18 years are not permitted to marry or be given to marriage and advised parents, family heads, religious leaders to refrain from giving their teenage daughters into early marriage.

He advised the youth not to give in to peer pressure to have pre-marital sex that could make them risk getting infected with HIV. Mr Kofi Lucas, the founder of AFA Foundation, was of the view that the use of condom is not the safest means of HIV/AIDS prevention but rather complete abstinence from sex by the youth, faithfulness of marriage couples and behavioural change are the only surest ways of combating the disease.

Nana Adusei Atwenewaa Ampem, Omanhene of Tepa who chaired the function, said the traditional council decided to get involved in the HIV/AIDS sensitisation programme in order to protect the children and the youth who are the central focus of development in the area from destroying themselves.

He appealed to parents, teachers, religious leaders and assembly members to support the action being taken by the traditional council to get rid of children under 18 years from roaming about in the streets at night and asked teachers and parents to ensure that school children are given adequate home work to keep them busy at night.