General News of Friday, 14 February 2003

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

HIV/Aids Prevention Campaign Launched

A campaign entitled "True Love Cares" has been launched by the Man Against Aids Network, (MAAN). It aims at reducing the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus by promoting a change in high-risk sexual behaviour.

This was contained in MAAN release issued by Bright Ladzekpo, which reported the results of its survey.

According to the release, MAAN found that perception of personal risk was low, while many, particularly men, aged 15-49, continued to practise high-risk sexual behaviour.

It suggested that there was a heightened tendency for casual sexual behaviour on festive occasions such as Valentine's Day, Easter, Christmas, Eid-Ul-Fitr and New Year.

The first stage of the campaign has therefore already begun with infomercials produced by MAAN and broadcast on the TV3 Network, the African Broadcast Network, (ON GTV) and Multimedia Broadcasting Company (on Joy FM, Luv FM and Sky FM).

According to the release, this stage will continue in other festive seasons throughout the media. Local and international Corporate Bodies, NGO's, the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS and the Ghana AIDS Commission will also support it.

The campaign is focused on men who, according to MAAN, drive the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus. Because women are socio-economically weaker, it is men who mainly determine when sex takes place and whether or not a condom is used. Thus heterosexual transmission accounts for more than 80% of all cases in Africa.

By encouraging men to be more open about sexuality and play a constructive role as responsible partners MAAN feels that there can be a significant reduction in the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.