ARE intensifies efforts to combat HIV in Central Region
Nov 20th, 2012: Action For Rural Education (ARE) is implementing the Health Education and Awareness Literature (HEAL 111) Project, funded by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC). The project, which is part of the implementation strategies of the 5- year National Strategic Plan for HIV, adopts a participatory approach to HIV education and capacity building at the community level. It employs a mix of community mobilization, capacity building and grassroots advocacy through interface engagements activities to educate and trigger positive behavioral change among community members. It targets youth and adults aged between 13 and 64 in 90 communities in six districts in the Central Region. The districts include Twifo-Ati-Mokwa/Hemang Lower Denkyira, Upper Denkyira East and West, Assin North and South and Abura Asebu Kwamankese.
Between November 6th and 20th , ARE organised training for 90 Peer Educators in all six project districts. Peer educators are leaders in their respective communities that act as volunteers to provide stigma reduction and behavior change communication to their peers as part of ARE's HEAL 111 project. They will approach their peers one-on-one or in groups of up to 5 people at a time. In each district, ARE works in 15 communities and has chosen 15 peer educators in each district who will work on providing the educational knowledge to its peers to reduce the rate of HIV. The reason why this project is so critical is because Central Region currently leads as the region with the highest rate (4.7%) of HIV infection in Ghana.
In the coming weeks, ARE will commence a series of interventions at the community level aimed at reducing new HIV infections, promoting responsible sexual lifestyles and ensuring opportunities for early treatment for HIV. These includes community drama, one-on-one and large group engagements on HIV, HIV counseling and testing and referral exercises which will be conducted in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service.
ARE has since 2003 been working in the Central Region to reduce HIV infections