According to Upper East Regional Minister Stephen Yakubu, drivers of articulated trucks and buses whose routes allow them to pass through and make temporary stops in the region may be engaging in predatory and reckless sexual behavior that is contributing to the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS in the area.
Mr. Yakubu said this when he spoke at the Upper East Regional celebration of the 38th Annual Farmers’ Day cum World AIDS Day at Bolgatanga, the regional Capital.
“This year’s celebration is very unique in the sense that it is being merged with the celebration of the National Farmers’ Day to give it the necessary awareness it deserves. Productivity and the health of the people are closely related and as we all know, the pandemic affects the most productive age group and therefore if the necessary awareness is not created, our efforts to accelerate agriculture production would be defeated.”
“We all know that where our region is placed, HIV/AIDS is very high here. The drivers get here, they stop here. They spend a day or two here, get to Paga, stop there, spend a day or two there and then you know what goes on there; the rest is history,” he said.
Mr. Yakubu continued to say that, “available statistics show that the spread of the disease in the region is alarming, perhaps due to our geographic location to Burkina Faso where most of drivers plying this international road normally come and operate and then engage in all forms of nefarious activities.”
The Upper East Regional Minister, agreeing with the international theme for the celebration, spoke against stigmatisation and appealed for togetherness in fighting the disease.
World AIDS Day, designated on 1 December every year since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. The acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The HIV virus attacks the immune system of the patient and reduces its resistance to other diseases. Government and health officials, non-governmental organisations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.