Although HIV and AIDS prevalence rate in Ghana was just 1.9 percent in 2008, the rate among the young is alarmingly 2.0 percent which shows an upward tendency. There is therefore an urgent need to make accurate knowledge available as well as to provide testing and counseling for HIV and AIDS to stop its transmission, particularly between mothers and children. A behavior change communication (BCC) program must be combined with better health care access including condom distribution to halt risky behavior.
The Project for HIV and AIDS Prevention through Education (HAPE) is spreading accurate information about HIV and AIDS in 10 districts of two regions where the HIV prevalence rate is particularly high. In addition to a radio-based “media" campaign, “person-to-person communication" in schools and communities has been implemented. To better reach youth, a comprehensive BCC program is being employed. This includes radio broadcasts, radio listening club, drama performances, film show and peer education by young volunteers.
BCC is a comprehensive approach that utilizes tested communication methods that are successful in motivating people to change dangerous behavior. To make BCC program effective in Ghana, a number of measures are being implemented. For example, voluntary counseling and testing services are provided at the community level. Also, project promoted referrals to community centers and STD (sexually transmitted disease) clinics which provide counseling, testing, anti-retroviral therapy and mother-to-child transmission prevention services. Condoms are also sold at cheap price. These activities are entrusted to the Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana, a local non-governmental organization. Taking advantage of grassroots networks, which is one of the strengths of NGO, those activities are intensively expanded in the community.