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Regional News of Thursday, 10 February 2005

Source: GNA

Ghanaians urged to change perception for HIV/AIDS

Apam (C/R), Feb. 10, GNA - The Gomoa District HIV/AIDS Focal Person, Mr Eric Akobeng has asked Ghanaians to change their perception for HIV/AIDS and put in their maximum effort to curb its spread. "Because we consider the fighting of the pandemic as the responsibility of government only and not a problem for the individuals, our attitude for change of behaviour has not been encouraging," Mr Akobeng noted.

He said community and individual involvement in the fight of HIV/AIDS had been very negligible.

"Even though communities and individuals could mobilise resources for other activities, the same could not be said for the fight against HIV/AIDS because they do not see it as their problem." Mr Akobeng made these remarks while presenting a cheque for nine million cedis on behalf of the Gomoa District Assembly to the Apam Catholic Hospital for the purchase of drugs for People Living With HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs) at Apam.

"If hoteliers could reduce the prices for renting their rooms just to encourage more people to go and indulge in sex during the Valentine's Day, tells how careless we are about the pandemic," he said in an apparent reference to promotional media commercials aired during Valentine.

Mr Akobeng who is also the District Budget Analyst, appealed to radio stations to stop promoting activities which encourage sexual promiscuity, adding "our quest for money should not make us take the welfare of our kith and kin for a ride."

Rev. Fr. Augustine Essel, Chaplain of the hospital and the head of counselling unit of the District AIDS Committee who received the cheque thanked the assembly for the gesture and appealed for more donations for the up-keep of people living with the disease.

Rev. Essel said currently the hospital was catering for 54 PLWHAs and said the number kept on increasing every week.