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12.11.2005 Health

Ninety-nine percent populace aware of HIV/AIDS pandemic

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Agona Swedru (C/R), Nov 12, GNA - Community-Based Organisations (CBO) and other anti-HIV/AIDS campaigning agencies have been called upon to shift focus from awareness creation because it is believed that 99 percent of the populace is aware of the dreadful disease. Making the call at a one-day sensitisation workshop in Swedru, organised by the district AIDS Commission, Mr Ben Mensah, District Chief Executive for Agona, said the focus should now be on care and support for people living with the disease, as well as the need for Voluntary Counselling Testing for people to know their status. "It is important for people to know their status - because it is believed that if you test positive, you will not want to spread the disease, and if negative, you would want to remain negative for the rest of your life," the DCE held.

He said the Ghana AIDS Commission would be releasing more than one billion cedis to the District Assemblies to be distributed among credible CBOs and NGOs involved in the anti-HIV/AIDS campaign and warned that not every such organisations would benefit. Mr Mensah pointed out that the District Assemblies would screen the target organisations critically before giving out this fund to them, adding, "I will personally be involved in the monitoring NGOs and the CBOs that would receive the package."

Mr Richard Ziork, the Agona District Focal Person, stated that the World Bank has directed that the fund for HIV/AIDS for the target agencies and organisations be routed through Assemblies to enable them do the screening of the beneficiaries.

He added that priority would be given to bodies with experience in HIV programmes and are well organised with operational offices, staff, and are registered with the District Assembly.

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