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04.02.2006 Health

Engaging youth in productive venture will curb HIV rate among them -

By GNA

Advocate

Accra, Feb. 4, GNA - Engaging the youth in productive ventures and activities that would keep them busy in the day, could assist curb the rate of HIV/AIDS infections among them, Mr Kwesi Gyasi Gyamerah, Programmes Coordinator, Streetwise Project, said on Saturday. Speaking to the Ghana News Agency during an HIV/AIDS sensitisation programme in Accra, Mr Gyamerah said youth unemployment continued to be a challenge to the country's drive against HIV/AIDS infection among the productive age group.

He noted that majority of the youth had misconceptions regarding issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs), and other reproductive health matters, hence the need to intensify public education, especially on STDs.

He said Streetwise, a non-profit organisation, supported by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) in Legon, Accra, had for the past eight years created awareness and expanded the knowledge base of the youth on STDs and HIV/AIDS related issues to be peer educators in their communities.

"Apart from the numerous educational programmes we have organised for them, we also give our audience enough time after our events, to ask questions to afford us the opportunity to deal with various misconceptions", he added.

Mr Gyamerah said Streetwise had also established a training centre at Achimota in Accra, to counsel and provide free medical treatment for their trainees and other youth in the community.

He said the organisation hopes to attain 50 per cent abstinence rate this year, adding that more centres would be created to counsel other youth in the capital.

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