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01.08.2005 Health

Getting AIDS victims to lead normal life is a major challenge


Ho. Aug. 1 GNA - Professor Sakyi Awuku Amoa, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), has said the inability to create good environment for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) to live normal life was one of the biggest challenges facing the Commission. He said the situation, which was due to society's negative attitude towards PLWHAs, posed a major social and psychological problem in respect of increased stigmatisation.

Professor Amoa said this in a speech read for him at a graduation ceremony for 24 adult students made up of five women and 19 men, who undertook a four-month course in HIV/AIDS counselling and care-giving at Ho. He said: "A major problem we have to deal with is that society, as a whole does not treat PLWHAs the same way as other people who are faced with other forms of ill health".

Professor Amoah, therefore, said the epidemic of stigma, discrimination, blame and collective denial was making all preventive interventions to drive the HIV epidemic out of sight very difficult. He underscored the importance of an environment, which protected the human rights, and dignity of PLWHAs and the need for society to re-evaluate its attitudes, prejudices and behaviours towards PLWHAs. "We hope that all well meaning Ghanaians will come out boldly to support and protect the compassion campaign throughout the country and to help us bring about the change in the hostile attitude that we have towards PLWHAs" he said.

Mrs Kate Addo-Adeku, Former Acting Director of the Institute of Adult Education, University of Ghana, Legon, who presented certificates to the graduands, said the course introduced by the Institute was in fulfilment of its social obligation to translate new knowledge from the University to members of the society.

She said she was not happy about the region not having a Workers College to promote efforts of the Institute and appealed to the Regional Minister and other stakeholders to mobilise resources towards its establishment.

Mr Charles Agbelie, Course Pprefect, said the course was systematically structured and covered topics such as "Distance Learning-Merits and Demerits", "Diagnosis of HIV/AIDS Infection" and "Impact of HIV/AIDS on the Socio-Economic Life of the People" and "Strategies for Behavioural Change".

The graduands were later inaugurated as members of the conference of Professional HIV/AIDS Counsellors and Caregivers (COPHACC-Ghana)