HIV/AIDS is a critical issue across the developing world. This is especially the case in Sub-Saharan Africa. Experts have suggested that in Africa, HIV/AIDS places every millennium development goal in jeopardy. It is one of the leading causes of death in the world, with over 2 million people dying from HIV/AIDS every year.

Cheerful Hearts Foundation HIV/AIDS team saw the need for education and awareness amongst the school population in the Ewutu Senya District. Our educational sessions will be aimed at creating more awareness among the student population on the existence of HIV/AIDS, how to avoid contracting it and how to prevent its spread.

In achieving this aim we embarked on an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign in some selected schools in Gomoa Nyanyano to start with. We devoted the month of July 2011 to this first phase and have been able to organise educational campaigns in three selected schools in Gomoa Nyanyano and recorded a total of five hundred and fifty (550) students and sixteen (16) teachers who participated in the awareness education.

The students were educated to come to terms with the fact that HIV/AIDS is not just a myth as many of them believe but does exist in reality.  Having come to terms with the above fact, we made them understand three things that each one must do to stop the menace of HIV /AIDS

  • How to avoid contracting the virus
  • How to prevent the spread of the disease and,
  • How to deal with other health related issues associated with HIV/AIDS and how to relate with people living with HIV

Josh Zanker, intern from Australia educating students on HIV/AIDS during the session at the Ebenezer Junior High, Nyanyano

The students were allowed time to ask questions about HIV/AIDS. Some of the questions addressed were as follows:

  • Can you get HIV from kissing?
  • Are there any other ways that you can get HIV apart from sex?
  • What are the chances of mother to baby transmission?
  • If you have HIV but don’t have money for medical treatment, what are some of the ways that you can keep your body healthy?

Questions were also asked by the teachers present at each session and it was apparent that attention was paid by all and sundry throughout the programme. To make sure we reach out to the larger population, the students were advised to educate friends at home who did not have the opportunity of learning about HIV/AIDS.

The Cheerful Hearts Team on this project comprising of Joshua Zanker, Sooji Lee, Godwin Acquah, Freeman Ahegbebu, Eric Opoku Agyemang and Bright Fiatsi used the opportunity to hand out some exercise books and pens, which were gladly accepted by the students.

Group of students from the Ebenezer Junior High with the Cheerful Hearts team after the talk