GHANA has once again, joined nations globally to observe the World AIDS Day.
And as expected, it was observed with an official ceremony and much talk at the venue ground at Sunyani, but with very little effort at increasing awareness nationwide about the disease.
It has become one of the occasions that pass without the people knowing.
But AIDS is real and there is the need to pay greater attention to it by using such occasions to highlight its destructive effects on society.
The HIV, the virus causing the disease, was first identified in 1984, and since then, more than 35 million people are said to have died globally. According to statistics, an estimated 34 million others have the virus.
Although some progress has been made in the search for a cure and scientific advancement has helped in the treatment, thereby prolonging the lifespan of people living with it, the large number of sufferers indicates that it still poses grave danger.
Ghana seems to have made some amount of progress in its control, with a prevalence rate of 1.47 per cent down from 3.6 per cent in 2003.
The Times, however believes it is no justification to be complacent.
As a matter of fact, we should rather be stepping up our efforts because there seems to be some amount of laxity among the people, particularly the youth, towards casual sex.
Majority of the youth think it is fashionable to be promiscuous, and, consequently, are indulging in sexual activities with multiple partners with reckless abandon.
This stems from the false confidence that with the availability of anti-retroviral therapy, there is no cause for alarm as one could still live long.
This confidence is bolstered by the fact that much emphasis is being placed globally on the supply and use of the anti-retroviral drugs.
Indeed, in line with the objective of the UNAIDS’ 90-90-90 agenda, Ghana has initiated a process to ensure that about 90 per cent of all the people living with the disease are on the drugs by 2020.
Much as we appreciate and commend this initiative, we also advocate for more attention to be given to the prevention methods, including abstinance, sticking to one sexual partner, and the use of condoms.
The Ghana AIDS Commission and other relevant agencies should step up public awareness on the dangers of the disease, and the need to avoid contracting it by not engaging in reckless sexual behaviour.
For, prevention is still better that cure.