Cecilia Senoo, Executive Director of the non-governmental organization Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), has stated that consistent education and sensitization is the only way to achieve a generation free of HIV infections.
She stated that people needed to understand that the disease was still present and that they needed to consistently protect themselves and their partners.
“We cannot truly achieve an HIV-free generation unless we protect, educate, and take care of ourselves,” she said. “We need to create awareness of HIV prevention, and one way to do that is with condoms.”
Mrs Senoo stated this on the sidelines of a sensitization event held last Thursday at the Kaneshie Market Lorry Park in Accra.
It was done in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), formerly known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, and the Ghana AIDS Commission.
A booth with commentary over a public address (PA) system was set up to educate people as part of the “Condom activation campaign.”
Both parties’ staff went around the market, handing out condoms and explaining how and why they should be used.
Similarly, they distributed pamphlets with key messages about HIV prevention, as well as ways to prevent and educate people about the disease.
There was also HIV testing on-site for those who wanted to know their status.
Mrs Senoo also revealed that the event was being used to prepare the entire country for World Aids Day on December 1.
“So, we’re raising awareness because, as of late, Ghana has very high HIV prevalence, particularly among young people, and that means we’re having unprotected sex, which is the most common way to contract the infection,” she explained.
The executive director also stated that the organization was collaborating with market women to reach people at the grassroots level and ensure that the message was heard by all.
“We will be using testimonies from people who have used it to protect themselves while having HIV-positive partners,” she said.
Dr Stella Gyamfi, the doctor in charge of the Kaneshie Polyclinic, said the exercise was important because there had been an increase in the number of new infections, particularly among the youth.
“This exercise is extremely important because there have been over 23,000 new HIV infections in Ghana this year alone, between January and June.”
“In Greater Accra alone, there are over 4,000 new HIV infections among them, and the youth are even more,” she said.
Dr. Gyamfi, who also serves as Okaikoi South Health Director, added that it was especially important for the youth because they had proven to be the most vulnerable to infections due to their high sexual activity, which was a characteristic of the youth.
“People should be educated more on the benefits of condoms, with an emphasis on proper use being demonstrated in order to increase condom uptake,” she added.