C’ssion urges Muslim leaders to intensify educ. on HIV/AIDS

TheAngela-El-Adas Ghana AIDS Commission has urged Muslim leaders to intensify the education on HIV/AIDS in their Friday sermons, to accelerate  progress in responding to the virus.

The Commission appealed to religious leaders and scholars to continue to engage in creative research and the interpretation of Islamic teachings for its application to emerging challenges in society, including HIV and Ebola.

Dr. Angela El-Adas, Director-General of the commission, made the appeal when she joined the Chief Imam in prayers to commemorate World Aids Day in Accra.

She explained that December 1, is marked globally as World’s AIDS Day, to remember friends and family members who have died from the virus, as well as show compassion and support to people infected with the disease.

“Globally, the day is being commemorated to rekindle the world’s commitment towards universal access to comprehensive HIV services,” she added.

She said the global theme is: Close the Gap, which enjoins all to advocate and ensure that everybody have access to HIV prevention, treatment care and support services.

Dr. El-Adas said the country’s sub-theme is: “Ghana towards an HIV-free generation through prevention of mother to child transmission, safe sex and stigma reduction”.

She said Ghana had decided to promote the prevention of mother to child transmission, and the reduction of stigma against people infected and affected with HIV.

Dr. EL-Adas said HIV in Ghana is spread through unprotected sex with an infected person, adding that the virus is transmitted through sharing of needles, blades, and other sharp objects, or from mother to child, during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding.

“It is said in the Holy Quran that we should be each other’s keeper and it behoves on all to show love and care for people living with HIV and not stigmatise or discriminate against each other.”

She disclosed that the country has been able to reduce HIV prevalence from 3.6 per cent to 1.3 per cent, and has reduced the number of new infections among children by 76 per cent, through the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programmes.

Dr. EL-Adas urged all mosques to set aside a special fund to support the commission, to be used for interventions to prevent mother-to- child transmission of HIV in the country.

Sheikh Osmanu Nuhu  Sharabutu, National  Chief Imam, affirmed muslims’ unflinching support to the Commission, to continue with the education to send the message across for improved and positive change.

He said the Muslim fraternity had championed the HIV education through its regional and local Imams across the country, and would not relent in their efforts to continue with the education, urging Muslims to be faithful to their partners,  and use condoms to be safe from the virus.—GNA

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