HIV Prevention: Ghanaians are advised to know their status
The National AIDS Control Program (NACP) has advised Ghanaians, especially men, to know their HIV and AIDS status for early and effective treatment.
Reverend Kenneth Ayeh Danso, the NACP Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, said this was because many men were reporting late to health facilities in advanced stages of the disease.
He said knowing your condition is important to start treatment early.
Rev Danso gave advice at a training for stakeholders organized by the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network on Epidemic Control in Accra.
It was on the theme “Rethinking HIV Interventions for the Country’s Vulnerable Population”.
He said the 2021 figures estimate that there are a total of 345,599 people living with HIV and AIDS in the country.
As of June 2022, a total of 262,042 people were on antiretroviral therapy (ART). Five percent of this number are children and 75 percent are women. Statistics indicate that men are not reporting, a situation that needs to be reversed in order to achieve the 95-95-95 targets.
The purpose of the workshop was to reflect on current HIV programming to assess strategies, activities and actors in the face of changing contexts.
Mr. Ernest Ortsin, President of GHANET noted that from the number of children who were on ART, it is a clear indication that up to 13,000 pregnant women are not on ART.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), for countries to end mother-to-child transmission, that country should do less than five percent.
“If you have 100 women who have HIV and they give birth to less than five percent of children, they should be infected, but as a country we are between 18 and 20 percent, which is an extremely high number.
“This means that out of every 100 women who are HIV positive at delivery, we have up to 20 percent positive, which is not good and it will not be possible to end HIV,” said Ortsin.
He called for a change in behavior among young people and advised against unprotected sex.
Mr. Ortsin said that to control the disease, there is a need to create an environment for people who are HIV positive to have free access to medication without fear of stigma and discrimination.
“One of the problems we’ve found is that at some point people stay off treatment because it’s not an easy thing to take drugs every day, and I encourage HIV patients not to feel weary of ART because it would help suppress the viral load and it enabled them. live longer,” he advised.
Dr. Sebastian Sandaare, Member of Parliament for Daffiam, Bussie and ISSA Constituency and Member of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, commended GHANET for its initiative.
He urged Ghanaians to go for the test, know their condition and seek initial treatment.
Participants in the workshop included the police, the prison service, religious organisations, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), lawyers, traditional leaders and parliamentarians.
The workshop was supported by PEPFAR, USAID, EpiC, and the Civil Society Institute for HIV and Health.
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