Curbing HIV/AIDS is a shared responsibility

Once again, yesterday, Ghana joined the global community to raise public awareness and to call for concerted effort to eliminate, by 2030, the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which is spread by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), mainly through unprotected sex.

In a message to mark the day yesterday, December 1, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, remarked, inter alia, that “Health is a human right.  Health must be a top investment priority to achieve Universal Health Coverage. On this World AIDS Day, let us recognise that to overcome COVID-19 and end AIDS, the World must stand in solidarity and share responsibility.”

The global theme for this year’s celebration is “Global solidarity, resilience service.”

Consequently, the global community is calling for resilience to advance science in order to find an effective vaccine, develop new prevention tools, improve treatment regimens, including genetic options, identify additional effective behaviour-change strategies and ultimately to produce an affordable cure for HIV.

The resilience also is aimed at leading advocacy and programme implementation until new infections are stopped and everyone has access to prevention, treatment and the social support they need.

An estimated 38 million people are living with HIV, and 33 million are estimated to have succumbed to the deadly virus that continues to devastate populations, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

Now the world is faced with two-major challenges of working to end the year-long COVID-19 pandemic and getting back on track to end HIV by 2030.

Ghana has a share of estimated 342,307    people living with the infection, which figure gives a 1.6 prevalence rate in the general population.

The Ghana National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan 2016-2020 key goals are to reduce new infections by 80 per cent; fast-track “90-90-90” targets; and reduce AIDS-related deaths by 80 per cent.

The “90-90-90” targets seeks to ensure 90 per cent of people living with HIV are aware of their status; 90 per cent diagnosed with HIV are receiving treatment; and 90 per cent of all people receiving treatment achieved viral suppression by 2020.

Available statistics show that in Ghana, only 58 per cent of the people living with HIV are aware of their status, while 77 per cent of the people diagnosed with HIV are receiving treatment, with 68 per cent of the people receiving treatment having achieved viral suppression.

The “90-90-90” targets, though ambitious, Ghana’s performance is encouraging and with more commitment of resources through global solidarity, we should be able to eliminate the disease by 2030.

We commend efforts of the government towards eliminating the disease from the country; similarly we share in the message of the WHO boss that the ‘World must stand in solidarity and share responsibility’.

Indeed, we need a strong global commitment to eliminate the disease from our midst by 2030.

We are in the Decade of Actions; let’s continue to show by deeds our commitment to stem the tide of the pandemic and have a world free of HIV by 2030.

To collectively achieve this laudable goal, we ask for behavioural change in the population. AIDS is real, let’s get protected!!

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