Sixty thousand condoms and one thousand lubricants were distributed for use in the Sunyani Municipality alone in the Brong Ahafo Region during this year’s Valentine’s Day, the Brong Ahafo Regional branch of the Ghana Aids Commission (GAC), has revealed.
The condoms were distributed as part of efforts to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region.
Speaking with the Daily Graphic, the Brong Ahafo Regional Technical Coordinator of GAC, Mr Welbeck Amoani Twum, said the exercise was carried out to reduce new infections of the disease in the region, adding that the exercise was timely since many people had sex during the Valentine’s Day.
“We normally carry out exercises of this nature during festive periods because that is the time that many people especially the youth engage in an unsafe sexual activity”, he said.
He said HIV/AIDS prevalence was high among the youth, a situation he described as a threat to national development.
According to Mr Twum, the 60,000 condoms and 1,000 lubricants all got finished during the celebration in the Sunyani Municipality, noting that the exercise was done in collaboration with the West African Programme to combat HIV/AIDS.
He explained that similar exercises were done in four other districts in the region including Techiman, Dormaa, Yeji and Kintampo.
“We distributed 60,000 condoms in Techiman, 15,000 each in Dormaa, Yeji and Kintampo”, he said, indicating that the distributions were mostly done in pubs and spots where many people went to have fun.
“We visited almost all the busiest spots and pubs in the municipality and the places were full up to capacity”, Mr Twum stated.
According to him, the exercise which was done by an 11-member team started at 8 p.m and ended at 4 a.m the following day of the celebration, saying, “Most of the people were not expecting such an exercise so it came to them as a surprise and they were very happy about it”.
Touching on infections with regard to gender, he said, women were more vulnerable to the disease due to their dispositions.
Mr Twum in addition, said, the region had mounted some strategies including training of Peer Educators (PE), placing of condoms vendor machines at vantage points and the intensification of campaign against mother to child transmissions of the disease.
“We have condoms vendor machines placed vat vantage points in the region where those who cannot go to the pharmacy to buy the condoms can just simply placed one pesewas coin in it and a condom will drop for you”, he explained.
According to him, the region was looking at an effective way to put those with the HIV/AIDS infections on medication to boost their immunity to other diseases.
Youth and sex
Mr Twum, however, expressed grave concern over how the youth of today could not stay away from sex irrespective of dangers in contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
“It is very difficult to tell the youth nowadays to stay away from sex so what we are saying is that if you can’t stay away from sex, use condom and use it effectively”, he said, stating that “Most of the youth don’t know how to use the condoms well and that pose a serious threat to their chances of being infested with any of the sexually transmitted diseases”.
According to him, the Brong Ahafo Region had enjoyed a stabilized HIV/AIDS prevalence of 2.0 per cent since 2010, 2011, and 2012, adding that it was only in 2013 that the figure increased by a margin of 2.1 per cent.