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Regional News Wed, 31 Dec 2003

Disclose status - People living with HIV/AIDS urged

Gomoa Fetteh (C/R), Dec. 30, GNA - People living with HIV/AIDS, have been urged to disclose their status to shed the psychological effect of harbouring of the disease as secret.

Mr Eric Akobeng, Gomoa District HIV/AIDS Monitoring and Evaluation Focal Person who gave the advice said hiding one's HIV status could lead to early death.

Mr Akobeng who was speaking at a workshop organized by Allies in Development Actions (AIDA), a humanitarian child and women focused non-government organization at Gomoa Fetteh, cautioned Ghanaians against using symptoms to label people as living with HIV/AIDS.

He said it was only through a test conducted by recognised health institutions, which could determine one's HIV/AIDS status. Mr Akobeng who is also the District Budget Analyst, expressed disappointment about the attitude of some Ghanaians towards sex education, saying, "labelling people who teach sex education as immoral has made teachers feel reluctant to teach the subject".

He commended AIDA for being the only NGO providing support and care for people living with the disease in the District.

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Mr Akobeng stressed the need for people to change their behaviour and to care and support people living with the disease and advised HIV/AIDS campaigners to direct their attentions to the area.

Mr Emmanuel Amoquandoh, Executive Director said the NGO, was collaborating with the Apam Catholic Hospital to identify people living with the disease for support and the provision of relief items including food, drugs and money.

The Executive Director who said the organisation also took care of AIDS orphans expressed concern about the reluctance of people to disclose their status.

The workshop attended by 30 field volunteers was to review the strategies in locating and interacting with HIV/AIDS patients. Mr Samuel Kobena Sakyi, co-ordinator of the NGO, advised the volunteers to be very tactful in their approach to get information about people living with the disease.

Source: GNA
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