December 1st 2010,
Today in Koforidua, Ghana YCI ambassadors and staff in partnership with YMCA held “Kick HIV/AIDS out of Koforidua”. Youth from the community, students from three local schools, two People Living with HIV/AIDS, a nurse, and staff of 4H attended the program which focused on awareness, prevention and stigmatization of HIV/AIDS. The nurse from Ghana Health Service spoke to attendants about how HIV/AIDS is transmitted and the importance of knowing your status. The nurse was also available on site for voluntary counseling and testing. About half of the participants took part in this free service.
The program featured a drama by YMCA mentors that focused on stigma reduction. In addition, YCI ambassadors facilitated a group activity that demonstrated how HIV/AIDS spreads and how they can limit their risk by reducing their participation in high risk activities. The most engaging part of the program was the speaker who is living with HIV/AIDS. The speaker used his personal experience to engage the students in a discussion about the contraction, the prevention and treatment.
One of the most important lessons to be learned from this speaker is the impact of stigma on those living with HIV/AIDS, he said “for the past ten years of being HIV/AIDS positive I have realized that HIV doesn’t kill us but sigma kills us faster”.
One of the participants said in a post interview that this is one of the best and captivating events she has attended on HIV/AIDS and she entreated her colleagues to go for the testing.
It is the hope of the YCI and YMCA that this will go a long way in joining efforts to fight against HIV/AIDS and its associated stigma.
– Fred Dadzie, Ghana Volunteer Program Manager, YCI