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Ghana AIDS Commission intensified efforts at ending HIV by 2030


As AIDS continues to ravage the world, Ghanaians are being asked to voluntarily test for the virus. Making a passionate appeal, the Ghana AIDS commission on Monday asked Ghanaians to go for voluntary tests to know their HIV status. Ghana was one of the countries that signed onto the UN AIDS Fast-Track target, geared at ending AIDS by 2030.

The target and the long term goal is to ensure that by year 2030 AIDS will no longer threaten human life. The short term targets have been set for 2020 to allow countries to track progress towards achieving the global target of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The short term target christened, the 90-90-90 Fast Track, is to ensure that by the year 2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their status. What is more, 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. Ninety percent of all people receiving anti-retroviral therapy are also expected to have viral suppression.

Golda Asante, the technical coordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission, made this observation at a stakeholders’  consultation on the first 90 campaign in Tamale.

The first 90 campaign was designed to increase awareness about available HVI testing services and to encourage Ghanaians to test and know their HIV status, boost testing rates as this is generally low in the country, reduce stigma and discrimination towards HIV testing and improve accountability on HIV testing services.

Madam Golda, who represented the Ghana AIDS commission Director General, Dr Angela El-Adas, said ending AIDS by the year 2020 as short term target means there should be testing services in all the communities.

She said HIV testing is limited to health workers in stead of involving faith based organizations, adding that it cannot be business as usual for now.

The commission was not happy that men are reluctant to go for testing and encourage men to test to know their HIV status. A total of 9,353, according to the commission was tested during the 2016 paragliding festival at Kwahu in the eastern region. This, the commission said, was remarkable compared to the previous year’s festival where only 200 to 300 people were tested.

One of the major challenges of the AIDS commission, according to the technical coordinator, is the lack of test kits.

Madam Golda said the commission is procuring one million test kits and urged the ministry of health to facilitate the process by releasing the money. The first 90 she said was about massive HIV testing service and that there was the need for stakeholders to do a lot to ensure that enough test kits are procured.

“I want to appeal to ministry of health that, the money is there and they should help us within the shortest possible time,” Madam Golda appealed.

She stated that, wherever the commission goes in every region, people are enthused and prepared to be part of the campaign mode adding it is time for stakeholders to be proactive and move beyond just talking for people to see practical things.

The deputy northern regional minister, Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini called on organizations particularly in the health sector to support the Ghana AIDS Commission’s efforts at achieving its global target.

He also urged the people in the region to take voluntary testing very serious for their own sake, noting that some people focus much attention in making money rather than taking care of their health.

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