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04.12.2005 Health

Official urges voluntary testing to determine HIV/AIDS status

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Kpandai (N/R), Dec 4, GNA - The East Gonja District in the Northern Region has marked World AIDS Day, celebrated every year to create awareness and educate the populace on the AIDS pandemic, at Kpandai in the East Gonja District.

This year's Day, was under the theme: "Stop AIDS - Keep the Promise".

It was attended by members of the community and beyond, as well as school children that were the prime focus of this year's celebration. The programme which was organised by Positive Steps Partnership, a Non- Governmental Organisation (NGO), and sponsored by the Ghana Aids Commission, sought to bring to the fore issues bordering on the HIV/AIDs pandemic and to educate especially the youth to avoid pre-marital sex. Speaking at the function, the Regional Population Officer, Alhassan Issahaku Amadu said two thirds of HIV/AIDS cases are found in Africa and expressed worry about the rate at which more people are contracting the disease.

He said the cost of maintenance for such patients is high so every individual should endeavour to stay HIV/AIDs free. "As the theme suggests, every person owes it a duty to humanity to keep the promise of accepting and recognizing the fact that the disease exists and to guard oneself from contracting it," he admonished. He also urged all to be active participants in the fight against HIV/AIDS and to undertake Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) to ascertain their status.

He mentioned that stigmatisation and discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS should be avoided to make these people more confident to share their experiences with the world.

Mr Amadu advised people living with the disease to always seek medical treatment, even though there is no known cure for HIV/AIDS. Mr Andrews Sayibu, Country Director of Positive Steps, in a speech read for him, said the focus on children was to create the awareness at an early stage so children who are the future leaders can stay protected. He stressed on behavioural change for all since unprotected sex is the major means of attracting the killer disease. As part of the programme, there was a route march through the principal streets of Kpandai and a quiz on HIV/AIDS to climax the event.

Master Charles Monkonsoh of Saint Kizito JSS in Kpandai emerged the overall winner and was presented with exercise books, mathematical set and pens.

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