General News of Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Source: Chronicle

Chief Condemns Use of Condoms

Odeneho Gyapong Ababio, President of the National House of Chiefs has condemned the use of condoms in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He says condoms cannot solve the AIDS problems for Ghanaians as various advertisements would want us believe.

The chief noted that condoms were meant for adults who could not control their sexual desires and deplored the mass promotion of condom use.

Addressing members of the House at a workshop on AIDS in Kumasi, Nana Gyapong Ababio urged colleague chiefs to carry the message across to the grassroots and encourage the youth to adopt abstinence as the best antidote to AIDS.

The Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Prof. Sekyi A. Amoah identified funerals as a catalyst to the AIDS pandemic.

He noted that funeral grounds had always served as an arena where people, especially the youth, engaged in illicit sex, the main mode of transmission and urged traditional leaders to consider a review of the situation.

Prof. Amoah reminded Nananom on the need for them to constantly remind the youth about the dangers of contracting the disease, which he reminded them, had no cure.

He said Ghana was losing its manpower resource because the economically viable group needed for the development and growth of the agric sector had been hit the hardest by the AIDS menace.

The GAC boss stressed the need for something concrete to be done about the fate of the youth and hinted that a total of ?220 million had been released to various districts and Community - based organizations to undertake programmes on HIV/AIDS.

Speaking at the forum, Dr. Nii Akwei Addo expressed concern about the steady growth of AIDS cases in alarming proportions.

"The very fact that victims are mainly in the productive ages of 25-49 years, poses a major challenge to Ghana's developmental efforts" he said and recommended that urgent and pragmatic steps be taken to confront the epidemic.

Dr. Addo said after the discovery of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s, recorded cases stood at 72,000 with 7,950 new cases at an estimated reporting level of 30%.

According to him, females were the most affected people and that, following the trend of infection, their male counterparts might soon catch up.