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Opinions of Saturday, 19 January 2008

Columnist: Ansah, Davis Opoku

Ghana 2008, The Youth And HIV/AIDS

Ghana 2008 presents a unique opportunity for Ghana and Africa to once again unit and enjoy the game that has been perceived to be the unifier. Over a million people are expected into the country from all over the world to watch the football and also look at business opportunities in Ghana.
The youth (15-35) will undoubtedly constitute the majority of tourist expected in the country thus a unique opportunity to address some of the problems that if not taken into considering will mar future organization of this wonderful tournament. HIV/AIDS needs to be taken seriously in the tournament by all stake holders for a successful organization of Ghana 2008.
AIDS is real, as the saying goes, but that sounds as a jargon which has failed to really have impact on efforts of stopping the spread the epidemic. According to the Millennium Development Goals Report, 2007, the youth places people of both genders at risk. In 2006, 40% of new infections among people age 15 and older were in the 15-24 year age group.
It is for these reasons that I want to appeal to football loving funs to really look at it from a critical point because judging from the trend of the spreading; we will not have the same numbers to witness such an important event in the calendar of the continent.
I will urge the local organizing committee to create a lot of awareness and effective education about the looming calamity that befalls our continent by
? Collaborating with the AIDS commission to provide large digital banners which educates the football loving funs about AIDS in both English and French in all the four venues and places where the visitors will be lodging. ? The media houses should highlight more on the dangers of the disease so that the youth especially the ladies will learn from it as most Ghanaians use these media as their source of information.
? Condoms (female & male) should be provided at no cost to the visitors at all vantage points and if possible at the entrance to all four venues.
? Everybody should try as much as possible not to be carried away by the excitement of the game into any unprotected sex. We should always remember if it?s not on, it?s not in.
Permit me to use this medium to appeal to all corporate bodies to help the country achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG?s) by giving priorities to projects addressing them. The Government should come out with policies that will make TARGET 2015 achievable.
AS WE HAVE FUN AND MAKE MERRY, WE SHOULD ALL REMEMBER:
? AIDS IS REAL
? 1 YOUNG PERSON DIES EVERY 15 SECONDS
? OUT OF THE 26 HIGHLY HIT COUTRIES, 24 ARE IN SUB SAHARAN AFRICA. Thank you and good luck to every country.

Davis Opoku Ansah, Youth Activist. Email: nanapoku_2@yahoo.com Tel: +233-24 4861593

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