Residents in the Ablekuma North Municipality in the Greater Accra Region have been urged to take the necessary precaution to prevent them from contracting the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) the virus that causes AIDS.
The Co-ordinating Director, Ms Vera Akuffo Mantey, who made the call on Tuesday stressed the need to make appropriate life choices and informed decisions that would promote their sexual health and general well-being.
Some participants at the seminar
The Municipal Co-ordinating Director was speaking at a day’s HIV and AIDS sensitisation seminar in Accra for artisans, trade associations and members of the assembly about the existence of HIV/AIDS which had been overshadowed by the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic.
She said though coronavirus put the focus of HIV/AIDS at the backburner, it was not a license to live unguarded lives, adding that it was for this reason that they organised the event in an effort to tackle the prevalence of the disease in the municipality to safeguard the citizenry for a more productive and healthier living.
Making a presentation on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), a resource person, Mrs Gladys Anaba, urged participants to cautiously guard their sexual lives in order not to contract STIs.
She advised them to avoid promiscuous lifestyle adding that the best assurance against STIs was to use contraceptives.
Mrs Anaba indicated that all suspected cases of STIs should be quickly referred to the hospital for medical examination, saying, it was not safe to resort to personal advice of friends and close relatives.
According to her, STIs begin with abnormal discharge in the lower abdomen of the genital in addition to itches and irritations at the genital area.
She said though HIV/AIDS took a very long time to show and remained in the blood for STIs in about a week or two, the signs would begin to show.
Abstinence, faithfulness and regular contraceptive use, she said were the best security guards.
On her part, a Public Health Nurse, Ms Jennifer Agyapong, speaking on HIV/AIDS transmission, testing, prevention and impact disclosed that HIV/AIDS exposes the patient to other forms of diseases because the immune system was weak.
She said as a way of preventing the disease, more sensitisation on the disease should be carried out for targeted groups at designated places such as youth clubs, churches, schools, medical facilities among others.
The association of barbers, she said, should be educated more to sterilise and disinfect their working tools as cases emerged from their end.
Touching briefly on Tuberculosis, a Civil Society Organisation Member on the AIDS Committee of the assembly, Madam Jane Okoh, advised all participants to keep the hygiene protocols of always washing hands with soap under running water before eating.
A School Health Education Program (SHEP) Officer, Mr Mahmood Bill, encouraged participants not to shun people with the disease because it was a way of boosting their morale to prolong their lives.