Focal person on HIV and AIDS at the Birim Central Municipal Assembly, Jesus Alodina Abolunga, has called on the public to remain conscious of the prevalence during this Yuletide.

He said as of 2020, the total number of people who had tested positive for the virus in the Municipality was 1,152 comprising 293 males, 776 females, and 83 children.

Mr Abolunga who made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency said both the young and old were at risk but the Municipality has targeted the youth from 15-45 years, educating them on preventive measures.

He said 87 percent of the 1,152 persons were on medication and advised them not to go to herbalists for treatment but focus on antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment.

“Getting infected by the disease does not mean you are going to die, you will live long provided you are on medication,” he added.

Mr Abolunga, who is also the Monitoring and Evaluation officer, explained that sensitisation and education were being done on radio and in churches and other organizations.

He advised the public to desist from reckless sexual behaviour and unprotected sex. He also called for a stop to stigmatising AIDS patients, saying, “a stigmatised person can feel fear or shame which can lead to anxiety or depression.”

The call is seen as timely, as Ghanaians are looking forward to having time off work to celebrate Christmas but the impact of it can be profound and not always positive.

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25.

The negative effects range from family conflicts, alcohol misuse to heightened loneliness, reckless sexual behaviour, and domestic violence.

However, the positive impact of Christmas is that it motivates many people to donate or pack presents for underprivileged children and families, issues are settled during this period, and there is a family reunion.