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Regional News Wed, 14 Jan 2004

New Juaben Municipality HIV/AIDS prevalence rate increases

Koforidua, Jan. 14, GNA- The New Juaben Municipality attained a higher prevalence rate of the HIV/AIDS within four years by rising from 2.6 per cent in 1998 to 8.5 per cent by 2003. The current national rate is 3.5 per cent.

The increase of the pandemic, which put the area at the top of the country's HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, had compelled experts to warn that, it is almost reaching the "explosion point" as in the case of some Eastern and Southern African countries.

This was made known at an emergency meeting convened by the New Juaben Municipal Assembly, and attended by about 20 anti-HIV/AIDS campaigning groups in Koforidua on Tuesday, to brainstorm on the way forward in the crusade against the disease.

The participants identified the cause of the rise in the prevalence rate to perception by some residents and "poor sexual habits of the people, especially the youth."

Others were the high level of stigmatisation, which compelled HIV carriers to go underground and the relative availability of good health care delivery facilities in the municipality at which HIV/AIDS symptoms/cases were recorded.

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The Municipal Chief Executive, Nana Adjei Boateng in an address, said as part of the implementation of the plan, the Assembly had set up an HIV/AIDS Documentation Centre to collate and provide information to people and researchers.

The Assembly would also set up of a care and food supplement support for people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) at the St Joseph's Hospital, which currently caters for 120 PLWHAs.

Nana Boateng said 11 workplaces HIV/AIDS programmes had been established, four Community Health Committees/Volunteers set up at Betom, Asokore, Trom and Jumapo, 12 CBOs and 13 NGOs in the municipality who had benefited from the Ghana AIDS Response Fund (GARFUND) to implement various anti-HIV/AIDS activities.

The participants advocated bye-laws to ban wake-keeping and end funerals by 6,00 pm., drinking bars to close early in the night, banning of the operation of night clubs and pornographic websites at Internet cafes.

Source: GNA
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