Pregnant women urged to test for HIV

Mr Ohene-Adjei (second right) launching the project

Mr Ohene-Adjei (second right) launching the project

The Director, Policy and Planning of Ghana AIDs Commission (GAC), Mr Cosmos Ohene-Adjei, has urged all pregnant women to test for Human Immune Virus (HIV) before they give birth to their babies.

She said it was the surest way to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of the HIV, by 2020.

Mr Ohene-Adjei who made the call at the Carry Your Candle (CYC) press launch in Accra on Tuesday, said pregnant women engage in unprotected sexual activities, which made them more prone to the virus, hence the need to test their HIV status as early as possible.

The CYC is an HIV stigma and discrimination reduction intervention, aimed at empowering and changing public attitudes to create a more supportive environment for persons living with HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome ( AIDS) through music.

According to Mr Ohene-Adjei, antenatal attendance was very high in the country, hence the Commission would use the platform to engage pregnant women to accept to be tested for the virus, with the help of service providers, before they give birth to their babies.

“About 90 per cent of pregnant women visit antenatal clinics once in 9 months period of their pregnancy, so we would take advantage of the high attendance and engage every pregnant woman to accept to test for the virus”, he said.

Mr Ohene-Adjei gave the assurance that measures and systems were in place to enable pregnant women prevent the transmission of HIV virus to unborn babies, once they tested positive.

“Get tested when you are pregnant, give birth or deliver under qualified supervision and once you deliver safely, the health professionals would advice you on how to breast feed the baby without transmitting the virus to them”, he urged.

The Project Manager of CYC, Madam Irene Kpodo, noted that people failed to test for HIV because of stigmatisation.

She said “We need to change our perception and attitude to ensure that people can accept persons living with HIV”, she emphasised.

The Business Development Manager of CYC, Mr Klenam Doe, said the project which would last for five years, aimed at reducing the stigmatisation and discrimination against persons living with HIV.

He said stigmatisation had a psychological effect on those with HIV, and called on Ghanaians to live in harmony with persons living with the virus.

By Abeduwaa Lucy Appiah

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