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Health News of Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Source: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie | Ultimate Radio

Teenagers with HIV awarded for taking their drugs

The Adolescent HIV Clinic at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital has awarded some 30 children living with HIV for adhering to their medications. The Clinic is currently treating over 130 adolescents living with the disease.

The children are those born with the disease and have been taking the antiretroviral drugs from birth. They are between the ages of 11 and 18 years. They received items including a Laptop and mobile phones. Coordinator of the event, Dr. Anthony Enimel says the programme seeks to encourage the teenagers to stick to their medication since they sometimes give up on them.

“We just want to motivate the adolescents to take their medication. It is not easy; some of them have been on medication as far as ten years, every day. And if you don’t have something to motivate them, they are likely to stop. So this is something we want to do to generate natural competition among them because now they begin to see that somebody is actually appreciating the medication they are taking.

“It is in their best interest, but they are adolescents, and managing adolescents can be difficult; so if you don’t have a way of getting them to take their medications they will give up. So those who did well, we selected, we are awarding them, so that they can continue and aim at maintaining the price; some will be competing, thinking that if I take it well, I am likely to win an award. So it is just to motivate them to adhere or take their medication”.

Dr. Enimil told Ultimate Radio’s Nana Oye Diabene that many children living with the disease are dying due to their refusal to take the drugs.

“It’s a big challenge because even when adults are given anti-malaria drugs for three days, we take the first day and we think we are well and we stop; even for three days. So if somebody is an adolescent, you know the adolescent age group doesn’t want to be controlled and they don’t want to take anything and you are asking an adolescent to take medicine daily for the rest of their lives, it is a challenge. Coupled with that, they are in school and sometimes the medicines have side effects, and that affects the way they are learning. Some have died because they faulted in taking the medication due to several factors,” he noted.

Some of the teenagers who were awarded shared their joy with Ultimate Radio’s Nana Oye Diabene.

“I am so overwhelmed. It gives me a great honor to be winning this kind of award. It isn’t easy when taking medicine in the morning, afternoon and in the evening. Sometimes I almost give up, but [the] doctor often tells me that it is part of me, so I take my medicine all the time. But I hope that, in the near future, we will have some medicine that will cure the HIV,” a thirteen-year-old boy said.

“I feel happy for the award because we have never had something like this before. Sometimes we only come to meetings and talk amongst ourselves. I feel happy about it and it will encourage us, especially those of us who are not taking our drugs,” a 12-year-old girl said.

“I am very surprised because I have never thought that I was going to be awarded for the meetings I have been attending to see the doctor and the fact that I was always taking my drugs. I am very happy,” another girl said.

Another 12-year-old girl said, “I feel very great today and I also promise them that I will always take my drugs so that anytime there will be awards I will win more”.

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