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Regional News of Tuesday, 20 May 2003

Source: gna

HIV/AIDS projects for Ashanti and Western Regions launched

Mr Joseph Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, has said the rate at which women go after illegal gold miners (galamsey operators) could increase the spread of the HIV/AIDS.

He said this at the launch of Care International (CI), a- three-year HIV/AIDS project for the Ashanti and Western regions.

The project, dubbed WASH, is estimated to cost 1.5 million dollars and the United States (US) Department of Agriculture is sponsoring it.

Mr Aidoo said if the trend was not checked HIV/AIDS could affect the country's most dependable labour force.

Mr Aidoo said the government was concerned about the rapid spread of the disease and appealed to organizations and individuals to support the fight against it.

Mrs Olivia Opoku-Adomah, Chairperson of the Western Regional AIDS Committee, said nearly nine percent of reported AIDS cases from 1986 to 2002 were between 15 to 49 years and 65 percent of the cases were females.

She urged all stakeholders in the fight against the disease to focus on change of behaviour and abstinence in the campaigns.

Dr Samuel Duh, Co-ordinator of the Care International, said the project would be implemented in some districts and sub-metropolis in the Ashanti and Western regions.

He said the main intervention areas were education and prevention, support for people living with HIV/AIDS and voluntary counseling and testing.

''Target groups are miners and their partners, commercial sex workers, loggers and saw-millers, long distance truck drivers and port and sea workers in the corridors of the project area'', he said.

He said the objective of the project include the education on change of attitude and behaviour to reduce HIV/AIDS prevalence rates.

Ms Lora Wuennenberg, a director of the project, said Ghana must use every available means to prevent the disease from affecting many more people.

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