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‘Homosexuality on the rise’

By The Statesman

Information available to The Statesman has it that homosexuality is on the ascendancy in the Sekondi -Takoradi metropolis.

Reports indicate that many prominent men in the twin-city including some media practitioners are seriously involved in the practice.

The Western Regional Focal Person for HIV-AIDS, Olivia Opoku-Adomah, disclosed this at a day's workshop on HIV-AIDS Reporting for Journalists in the metropolis at Takoradi on Tuesday.

The workshop, which was under the theme 'Reporting HIV-AIDS issues, reducing stigma and discrimination" was organised by the League of HIV-AIDS reporters, Ghana, a non-governmental organisation of journalists in collaboration with the Ghana AIDS Commission.

Mrs Opoku-Adomah, who could not give offhand statistics to support her claim, promised to furnish the participants with a detailed report at a later date. She however lamented that the practice, which is frowned upon by the Ghanaian society and laws, has the tendency of once again shooting up the reduced HIV-AIDS prevalent rate in the twin-city and the region as a whole.

She intimated that thanks to collaborative efforts by a number of governmental and non-governmental organisations in the Western Region, the region's HIV-AIDS prevalent rate which was 4.3 percent in the year 2006, reduced to 3.2 percent last year.

She said the Western Region which was very close to neighbouring La Cote d'Ivoire has over the years not had any impressive HIV-AIDS record and that this should be a major source of concern to all patriotic people in the region.

She therefore stressed on the need for condom usage which is currently at a very low patronage.

The Director in-charge of Policy and Planning Division of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Sylvia J Anie, reiterated that sex is the highest mode of acquiring the HIV-AIDS virus, accounting for eighty percent of infection.

She said homosexuality and the practice where men have sex with girls as young as their daughters should be condemned by the society if the nation was to make headway in her fight against the HIV-AIDS menace.

Dr Anie stressed that the AIDS situation in the country is not the best, taking into account the fact that the national prevalence rate which was 2.4 percent in 1994 shot up to 3.2 percent in 2006.

Outlining the objectives of the workshop, the President of the Leaque, Ato Amoaning-Annan, said it was aimed at shifting paradigm in HIV-AIDS reporting, increasing qualitative reporting of HIV-AIDS issues as well as engendering quantitative reports of HIV-AIDS.

Topics treated included HIV and AIDS: clinical management; HIV-AIDS: the role of the media and HIV-AIDS: reporting the story. The participants were expected at the end of the day to develop new angles and styles of reporting on HIV-AIDS issues.