World AIDS Day events eventually began formally and it started off getting people involved through a question and answer session hosted by Aggie, about AIDS, AIDS prevalence in Ghana, and proper ways to protect yourself.
It was a good exercise, so let's do it here on the blog, for World AIDS Day:
- How many people in the world have HIV? 33 million,
- How many AIDS related deaths occur per year? Around 2 million.
- What is the proportion of Ghana's population that has AIDS? 1.9%. Which doesn't sound bad, when you compare it to Swaziland, with their tragic rate of 26%. Ghana does have the lowest rates in West Africa according to Ghana Demographic and Health Survey. But slow down there, Ghana's rate is still over 3 times that of the USA.
- How many children are orphaned by AIDS in Ghana? Around 160,000 as of 2009.
- What is the prevalence of AIDS in the Western Region of Ghana, where Humjibre is located? 4.7%. Not the highest rates of any region in Ghana, but rates of AIDS are much higher in towns near mining areas, which the Western Region has plenty of. Transient workers from all over Africa come to mining towns, often bringing AIDS while the sex worker industry often thrives in these towns, spreading it locally.
- What age group has the fastest growing rates of AIDS in the B.A.B District, where Humjibre is located? Youth, ages 15-19.
|Aggie drops some science; enormous speakers take a break from dropping a beat|
Following the event was condom distribution, in separate men and women areas. Everyone would get three, and predominantly it was the older mid-20's crowd, but young people were coming in slowly. One boy asked me to get them for him, and I said, no, this isn't a thing to be ashamed about, get your own. I pushed him inside, and he said thank you to me on the way out.
|Community Health Worker Shadrack distributed more than 150 condoms on this night.|
After the event, the adults made their way home, while the youngsters hung out. Yes, it was in Sefwi, but when I heard words like "Female Condom", I hung around. Like an educating pinball, GHEI staff bounced to different groups of young people, answering questions and destroying myths.
We also took the time to let everyone know that you can get condoms at highly reduced rates at GHEI (and now at drink spots throughout town). "So later, you can get some for me?" I was asked. "Yes, and anyone one of us will. No matter what."
Stats from here and here and here and from Mensah, Aggie and Carly. Good reading to be found here.