Regional News of Sun, 25 Jan 20040

AIDS campaigners urged to focus on stigmatisation

Kumasi, Jan 24, GNA - Mr Michael Boamey, Ashanti Regional Co-ordinator of HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), has called on AIDS campaigners to focus their activities on discrimination and stigmatisation against People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) as a way of curbing the spread of the disease. He said if this was not done, people living with the disease would not come out to share their experiences with the public but rather infect others with the disease knowingly to get companions. Mr Boamey was speaking at the graduation ceremony of a three-month distance education course on HIV/AIDS counselling and care giving in Kumasi on Saturday.

The programme organised by the Institute of Adult Education (IAE) of the University of Ghana and sponsored by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA), involved individuals and organisations from workplaces and community levels in Ashanti.

The course covered background information on HIV/AIDS, impact, principles and strategies for behavioural change, counselling, care-giving and national response to HIV/AIDS.

Mr Boamey said the HIV/AIDS menace was a national issue and was happy that the IAE had thought it wise to organise the course to bring people together to educate them on the disease.

He expressed the hope that the participants would go out to form Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to impart what they had learnt to the people in their communities to curb the spread of the disease.

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The Regional Co-ordinator urged other departments of the various universities in the country to emulate what the IAE had done and called on institute to solicit more funds from other organisations and commissions to support the next batch of the programme to reduce the burden of participants.

Mr Samuel Badu-Nyarko, Principal of Kumasi Workers' College and Co-ordinator of the course, said people needed to ascertain their HIV/AIDS status.

Explaining how the programme was run, Mr Badu-Nyarko said participants pay a token fee and collect pamphlets, read and after every two weeks come to discuss the topics studied with other participants at a forum.

He said participants also went on practical attachment at places where HIV/AIDS programmes were executed to make the course more practical.

Mr Badu-Nyarko commended the participants for their courage and desire to participate in the course, adding that there was the need for all to support the fight against the HIV/AIDS, which was fast spreading in the country.

Source: GNA

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