Motorists, traders and some travellers at the Ashaiman Main terminal took advantage of a free HIV screening exercise last Friday to know their status.
The exercise, under the auspices of the Ashaiman Municipal Health Directorate, was part of a campaign to encourage residents, particularly drivers and their mates, to know their HIV status and to be ambassadors against the spread of the virus.
At the venue, several people said that they could not relate with persons living with HIV/AIDS when health personnel and Reverend John Azumah, an HIV/AIDS Ambassador, posed questions to the public on whether or not they could associate with persons living with the virus.
Others held the view that HIV/AIDS is a fiendish disease which needs both intercessory prayers and medical treatment to survive from it.
Reverend Azumah and Juliet Selasi Ahorbo of the Focal Person for HIV/AIDS for the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly, educated and assured the public that HIV is contracted only through unprotected sex and sharing of sharp objects with carriers of the virus.
Reverend Azumah said that hugging, shaking hands and eating from the same bowl with a person living with HIV/AIDS does not make one unsafe.
“So, let us dismiss the wild perception we have about persons living with the virus, because you know that stigmatisation is one of the fast killers of persons living with the virus,” he educated the public.
He explained that stigmatisation has compelled some persons living with the virus to relocate to remote areas, thus having a dire toll on their finances.
This, he said, is making the carriers more vulnerable, especially because their paltry income budgeted for their upkeep has to be expended on transportation to designated health centres for anti-retroviral drugs.
“Whilst persons living with HIV will need their family and friends to support them, the government too must do its best to make life better for the carriers, because the current economic hardship is also having a toll on the hard-earned incomes of persons living with HIV,” Reverend Azumah noted.
Juliet Selasi Ahorbo, on her part, encouraged parents to do well to protect and educate their wards on HIV and abstinence from sex until they are married.
She advised adults and youth with a penchant for sex to use condoms to protect themselves and their partners.
Athough she did not mention the statistics of HIV carriers in Ashaiman, Miss Juliet advised residents to protect themselves against sex with multiple partners.