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19.09.2005 Health

Ghana AIDS Commission starts prevalence survey on HIV/AIDS

By GNA

Kumasi, Sept 19, GNA - The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) last Monday started its survey to determine the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the country.

The survey, which is expected to end in December this year, will determine whether the current national prevalence rate of 3.1 per cent has gone down or up.

Mr Michael Boamey, Ashanti Regional Co-ordinator of HIV/AIDS, who disclosed this, said currently there were about 450,000 people living with the disease in the country and the Ashanti region's rate was 3.0 per cent.

He was addressing the closing session of an eight-day training of trainers workshop organized by the Research and Development Department of Kuapa Kokoo Limited, a Licensed Buying Company (LBC) for selected farmers and staff of the company drawn from Goaso, Sankore and Kukuom in the Brong-Ahafo region in Kumasi at the weekend.

The trainers are expected to educate farmers in these communities where some farmers still held the notion that the disease was a curse. The company expects to open two counselling centres at Sankore and Goaso to be manned by the trainees to offer counselling on the disease to farmers and other members of the communities. The success of the project in these two areas will enable the company to replicate it in other communities where the company operates. Mr Boamey said the workshop was very important in view of the fact that everybody including farmers was at risk since statistics indicated that the disease affected even people aged 70 and 80 years. He asked the participants to work closely with the district assemblies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and other organizations in the communities involved in HIV/AIDS programmes and to document their activities. Mr Adjin Mensah, Executive Secretary of Kuapa Kokoo, urged the participants to stress on abstinence when educating farmers on the disease.

He asked them not to despise those living with the disease since that would force them to go underground and spread the disease but if they showed compassion and love, the victims would have some confidence and hope to desist from spreading the disease.

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