346,120 Ghanaians infected with HIV – Ghana Aids C,ssion

A total of 346,120 Ghanaians have been infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS with 66 per cent being females while the rest are males, the Ghana AIDS Commission has disclosed.

Speaking at a media engagement programme organised by Christian Health Association of Ghana on Friday, the Senior Programme Manager for HIV/TB Community Systems Strengthening (CSS), Benjamin Cheabu noted that females were topping the chat of persons living with HIV/AIDS in the country.

The findings, he said, could be attributed to the fact that women get themselves examined more than the men and charged the male counterparts to get themselves examined.

Mr Cheabu indicated that there were more people living with the ailment and due to the stigmatisation many were afraid to accept their health status, hence spread the ailment.

He called on the citizenry to reduce stigmatisation in order for the country to achieve the 95-95-95 target by 2023.

“The 95-95-95 target is an agenda of making people know their status, for all those who know their status to get treated and for them to take their drugs to get the ailment to be virally suppressed in order for them not to spread it,” Mr Cheabu added.

He stated that the global HIV testing and treatment cascade revealed that in 2021 84per cent people living with HIV who knew their status, 73per cent were treated and 66per cent were virally suppressed which meant that the number kept reducing in each stage due to the stigmatisation.

Mr Cheabu underscored the need for health workers to support the agenda by reducing health facility stigma among HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis patients.

“Stigma in health facilities is particularly serious, negatively affecting people seeking health services at a time when they are at their most vulnerable,” he lamented.

When that was done, Mr Cheabu said, the country could reduce TB incidence by 25per cent from 148 in 2018 to 111 per 100,000 populations by 2025 while reducing new HIV infections by 42 per cent by 2023.

He, therefore, promised his outfit’s commitment to increase community-led monitoring, advocacy and feedback to achieve zero stigma and discrimination.

Mrs Elsie Ayeh, the President of the National Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAPT) called on the media to desist from giving their space to some individuals including pastors who claim of having cure for HIV/AIDS and related ailment.

She said the act has denied some positive patients access to proper treatment, thus has resulted in rise of death while it could have been prevented.

Mrs Ayeh charged the citizenry to incorporate persons living with HIV/AIDS in activities and not segment them.

BY JOYCELINE NATALLY CUDJOE

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