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19.09.2005 Health

Change Behaviour that can expose you to HIV/AIDS - GMA.

By GNA

Bolgatanga, Sept 19, GNA - The Ghana Medical Association (GMA) on has appealed to chiefs, teachers and assembly members to help health personnel to educate the public on the need to embrace responsible behaviour change in order to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. Prof Yaw Adu-Gyamfi, President of the GMA, said this at the launch of the National Annual Health Week under the theme, "Responsible Behavioural Change - Key to Arresting the HIV/AIDS menace in Ghana", in the Upper East Region.

He said even though over 90 per cent of Ghanaians were aware of HIV/AIDS, many had not been able to translate that knowledge into responsible behavioural change that could significantly reduce the spread of the virus.

Prof Adu-Gyamfi said the change in behaviour could not be achieved in a short time and that the health sector would have to review and renew its strategies in order to make a significant impact. Mr Awudu Ahmed Yirmeah, the Deputy Regional Minister, said the provision of anti-retroviral therapy would soon be increased to cover most parts of the country.

He expressed concern at the careless behaviour of the youth and said more attention should be paid to them to make them understand what was at stake.

Dr Kwasi Odoi-Agyarko, the Executive Director of Rural Help Integrated, a non-governmental organisation, said research done in youth sexual behaviour in the region showed that 26 per cent of girls in the communities were forced into sex without any form of protection during night markets.

''Wife inheritance is still practised and 17 per cent of respondents insist that it has to continue while 34 per cent use hard drugs and consume alcohol excessively.'' Dr. John Williams, the Chairman of the Upper East Regional division of GMA, said the slight decrease in the rate of infection of the virus was not good enough. 19 Sept 05

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