Youth should be at frontiers of curbing HIV and AIDS – Mahama
He made the call at a youth colloquium in Cape Coast on the theme: “Intensifying Youth Participation in Combating HIV and AIDS in the Central Region.”
It was held by Curious Minds, a non-governmental organisation that attracts children and youth in broadcasting who sensitise their peers and encourage them to contribute to issues relating to their wellbeing as well as the national interest.
Mr Mahama noted that education on HIV and AIDS should be incorporated with messages on stigmatisation in order not to worsen the difficulty in curbing the pandemic.
He said the high level of stigmatisation by society had prevented many people from checking their HIV and AIDS status and seeking medical treatment.
Mr Mahama advised the youth to seek reliable and dependable information from their teachers, parents and counsellors in order to make informed decisions while they looked up to role models to shape their lives in the right direction.
He spoke against the practice of homosexuality and said it was a contributing factor to the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Mrs Rebecca Antwi-Baffour, Cape Coast Metropolitan HIV and AIDS Focal Personnel said the Metro HIV and AIDS Committee had intensified its messages on stigmatisation to help stem the disease.
She said sensitisation programmes as well as free counselling and testing had been carried out in a number of communities while it was in the process of formulating a workplace policy on the disease to protect careers.
Mr Henry Adu, Metropolitan Co-ordinator of the National Youth Authority said the HIV and AIDS educational campaigns should be tailored to the understanding of the youth to avoid the situation where they would misconstrue its content.
He said opportunities should also be created for fruitful deliberations between the youth and stakeholders for them to make meaningful contributions on issues of national interest.
Adu expressed dissatisfaction that most programmes concerning the youth were planned and executed without their input.
Nana Kojo Addae II, Chief of Abura, said the youth should make conscious efforts to educate themselves on HIV and AIDS and be actively involved in activities aimed at finding solutions to the health problem.
He said the disease was a threat to the human resource base of the country and should be rigorously tackled.