This year’s World AIDS Day was launched in Accra on Tuesday, with a call on Ghanaians to take advantage of HIV services and get tested to know their status.
The Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Angela El-Adas, who spoke at the launch, believed that it would compliment government’s efforts at attaining the first goal of the ‘90-90-90 targets’.
The goal states that at least 90 per cent of all persons living with HIV know their status by 2020.
The 90-90-90 targets, the theme for this year’s celebration, aims at ensuring that by 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV (PLHIV) could know their status, 90 per cent of those who know their status would be on treatment, and 90 per cent of PLHIV on treatment will achieve viral suppression.
It would also ensure that no one was left behind and that everyone was provided for and has access to necessary HIV services to assure them of needed prevention or enable them live positively with the infection.
Dr. El-Adas hoped that the theme would further encourage the enhancement of integrated services to holistically cater for PLHIV to promote a complete and healthy life.
“The event which precedes the commemoration of the World AIDS Day on December 1, 2016 would mark the commencement of a month long series of activities which include the engagement of community leaders and the media for behavioral change, HIV testing and counseling towards reducing stigma against patients,” she said.
She said the month long programme would serve as an opportunity to asses the commission’s response to the epidemic, engage in discourse on how best we can fill any gaps and renew our commitment to achieve the new global fast track targets of 90-90-90 by the year 2020.
According to the Director General, the commission was working to ensure that with effect from January 2017, everyone who tested HIV positive would receive treatment without recourse to the state of one’s immune system.
She said her outfit together with its ambassadors was committed to carry out campaigns across the country to fight HIV related stigma until it was totally eliminated from the society.
She called on PLHIVs not to be swayed by claims of cure for the disease and urged them to stay on prescribed drugs by doctors.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo implored Ghanaians to desist from discriminating against PLHIVs and urged HIV positive pregnant mothers to access healthcare and treatment to reduce risk of transmission to babies.
He called for full support in implementing Ghana’s New Strategic Plan (NSP) 2016-2020 to achieve an HIV-free society and appealed to funding partners, private sector and other stakeholders to help bridge the funding gap in the exercise to be able to achieve its goals.
The former Chief Executive of the Adentan Municipal Assembly, Nubyl Kakra Van-Lare on his part urged district, municipal and metropolitan AIDS committees to work together to reverse the upward trend of HIV prevalence in the Greater Accra Region.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey