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                            The Media Specialist of PEPFAR at the United States Embassy in Ghana, Rev. Mrs. Lady Dzid Kwami has challenged the youth to rather than engage in promiscuity, indiscriminate sex that exposes them to STIs including HIV-AIDS, focus on their studies at school.

This, HIV-AIDS and STIs are not just real but inimical to their lives and therefore future aspirations.

Rev. Mrs. Kwami made the call at the Agric Nzema Senior High School in Kumasi as part of activities by the PEPFAR to commemorate the World AIDS Day.

She said, “HIV-AIDS is real and you must be careful not to indulge in unprotected sex if you can’t abstain at these times when you are sexually active”

“I want to entreat you to abstain from sex, marry your books, and excel by passing your exams. Once that huddle is crossed and you become responsible persons to society, you get married and you have the world to yourself”. She admonished.

Adding that, "if you can’t abstain, in a worst case scenario, protect yourself by using condoms”

The PEPFAR Media Specialist revealed that the US Embassy in Ghana through PEPFAR is committed to contributing its quota toward the fight against the spread of the HIV-AIDS disease.

“This explains why over the years, the US government has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the fight against HIV-AIDS” She said.

“I would therefore entreat you to be responsible students just so the massive investments by the US Embassy in the compact against HIV-AIDS will not count for nothing. Rev. Mrs Kwami said.

She made demonstrations of efforts at preventing the disease and also presented US Embassy and HIV-AIDS branded souvenirs to the students.

An HIV-AIDS Ambassador, Gifty Torkonu sent shivers down the spines of the over seven hundred student, when she told a chilly story of how she was diagnosed of having contracted HIV but has since survived it for 14 years.

“Would you believe it if I told you I am HIV positive? She queried.

The hall went dead silent.

Adding that, “When I was diagnosed of the disease, I lost control of myself. I thought my world had come to an end. The manner in which the news was broken to me was devastating. But thank God I have survived it for close to 15 years, because I have religiously committed to taking my anti-retroviral”.

“I am here to tell you my story and to let you know that, it’s an uneasy situation for me and as HIV Ambassador. Trust me it’s not funny. Can you imagine the stigma of living with the disease? Can you imagine taking medication religiously without missing a dosage for the last 10 years and still counting”? She quired.

Madam Torkonu, schooled the students on the disease and its prevention and called on them to as much as possible eschew stigmatization.

“Look at me, if I don’t tell you I have the disease would you believe? So yes, you can’t tell if anybody has the virus. This is why you must be careful with your sex life. Avoid indiscriminate sex. But at worse protect yourselves” She advised.

The Executive Director of The Press Foundation, TPF, Listowell Yesu Bukarson commended the US Embassy for its continuous support toward the fight against HIV-AIDS.

“On behalf of the Ghanaian media, I want to appreciate the enormous contribution of the American Embassy towards the fight against HIV-AIDS”, He said.

Mr. Bukarson charged the media to devote some appreciate airtime on radio and Television and space in the print media to complement institutions, especially PEPFAR at the US Embassy in Ghana towards the fight against the menace.

Mr. Bukarson, pledged the support of TPF towards this very important course by complimenting the pragmatic programmes by the PEPFAR.

The team also visited the CSIR Basic School where a seminar interaction was held with the JHS pupils and their teachers.

The PEPFAR partnered the Ghana AIDS Commission to mount stands at the Heroes’ Park of the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, venue for the National Farmers’ Day where hundreds of people were educated and tested for HIV.

PEPFAR is the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. It is therefore the U.S. Government initiative to help save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the world. The program to prevent the spread of AIDS and to support People Living with HIV (PLHIV) has operated in Ghana since 2007.

Since the program’s inception, more than $132 million has been invested working with Ghana to address this global challenge. In addition to PEPFAR, the United States remains the world’s greatest investor in the Global Fund.

Several agencies and offices comprise the PEPFAR team at the US Embassy Ghana.                            


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