The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has revealed that, approximately 20,000 new HIV infections are recorded in the country every year.
Speaking at the launch of the World AIDS day in Accra, Mr. Kuma-Aboagye, intimated that, these numbers are recorded despite the significant decline in HIV prevalence.
He further stated that, an estimated 342,307 of the approximately 38 million people estimated to be living with HIV worldwide are in Ghana, and 153,901 of the 25.4 million had access to treatment as of the end of 2019.
He said, with a current national adult prevalence of 1.7 per cent, Ghana had witnessed a decline in HIV prevalence from 3.6 per cent in 2004 to 2.0 per cent in 2019, indicating that although there had been some progress, the disease was still formidable in the country.
According to him, a review of the data available to his outfit showed that, their overall uptake, including HIV services, was below expected targets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the impact of the pandemic, he noted, was however, significantly mitigated by the timely provision of clear guidelines and commodities for service delivery, continuous monitoring and engagement with stakeholders to address challenges during the second quarter of the year.
Mr. Kuma Aboagye further advised that, staying safe from HIV infections meant adopting a comprehensive combination of prevention and promotion strategies, including the use of condoms and accessing testing and treatment services.
He said due to the new public health threats that were likely to emerge after the COVID-19, it had become very important for people living with HIV to adhere to the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).
“The public must take all necessary precautions to remain free from HIV, while we work harder to find a lasting cure for HIV. Till the latter is achieved, let’s maintain the high management record and success through adherence to ART, as we have achieved with the COVID-19.”
Also, speaking at the launch was the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Mr. Kyeremeh Atuahene who called on Ghanaians to help reduce new HIV infections in the country.
“All Ghanaians are called upon to help reduce new HIV infections by each one of us taking responsibility for self-protection at all times. We should also support Persons Living with HIV to take their anti-retroviral drugs religiously to attain viral suppression and reduce AIDS-related deaths.”
He then said, the quest to end AIDS by the year 2030 will be feasible, only if stakeholders worked with a renewed commitment and also with the active participation of the public in order to achieve the target.
Touching on the celebration, he said this year’s celebration was unique, as it marked the end of the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan 2016-2020, adding that it was an opportunity for the country to present the achievement of that plan, while developing another strategic plan for the years ahead.
The World AIDS day event, will be held annually on the 1st of December ,2020 on the global theme: “Global solidarity, shared responsibility”, with an adopted sub-theme: “Stay safe, Let’s end AIDS by 2030”.
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