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02.10.2005 Health

HIV Counsellors advised to establish counseling Units

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Kumasi, Oct. 2, GNA - Trained HIV Counsellors have strongly been advised to form counselling units or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOS) at the community levels to be used as platforms for the propagation of messages on HIV/AIDS.

Mr. Samuel Badu-Nyarko, Principal of the Kumasi Workers College who gave the advice said such units should not be used just only for counselling those already affected by the virus, but also enlighten those not also affected so that they could protect themselves against it.

Mr. Badu-Nyarko gave the advice in Kumasi on Saturday at the fifth graduation ceremony of 56 persons who had just completed a three-month Distance Education course on HIV/AIDS Counselling and Care Giving The course was jointly organized by the Institute of Adult Education (IAE), in conjunction with the United Nations Population Fund. The main objective of the course was to build the capacity of the participants to enable them to undertake prevention, counselling, care and support for People Living with HIV/AIDS.

Topics the graduands were taken through include Global, National and Regional overview of HIV/AIDS, Basic information about HIV/AIDS, impact of HIV in the country, behaviour and HIV infection, and voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) as well as Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT).

Mr. Badu-Nyarko disclosed that since the inception of the Distance Education course on HIV/AIDS Counselling and care giving in 2003 by the Institute of Adult Education and the United Nations Population Fund, a total of 1,056 adults have benefited from the training. He said out of the number, 224 beneficiaries came from Kumasi. Mr. Michael Boamey, Ashanti Regional Co-ordinator and National Trainer of HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), said the downward trend of HIV recorded in 2004 was no basis for Ghanaians to be complacent.

The menace rate descended from 3.6 percent in 2003 to 3.1 percent in 2004.

Mr. Boamey said such a trend should rather bring all and sundry together and collectively evolve more effective campaign strategies, at completely limiting the spread and effect of the menace. Mr. Polycarp Ankobea, the Course Prefect advised against stigmatisation and isolation of HIV patients and victims.