HIV/AIDS remains national threat - AIDS Commission reminds public
The public has been reminded that HIV/AIDS remains a major health threat in the country.
The Ghana Aids Commission said the situation was, particularly, worrying because the epidemic was fast growing among the most economically active population in the country, including adolescents and young people who, it said, were increasingly becoming infected.
The commission added that youth between 15 and 24 accounted for a third of the HIV/AIDs national burden of 354,927.
This was contained in a speech read by the Executive Oversight Minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, on behalf of the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the launch of World AIDS Day in Accra yesterday, on the theme: "Let communities lead."
The day is used to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS and also to honour the lives of those affected by the epidemic.
A month-long activities to commemorate the day was unveiled at the event.
Dr Afriyie, who is also the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said although eliminating AIDS and new HIV infections by 2030 was feasible, it would require the collective support of all stakeholders.
He called on communities to take the lead in putting an end to HIV and AIDS and ensure that all persons had access to person-centered care and services.
“This will foster innovation, trust and nurture the ability to oversee policy and service implementation by holding service providers responsible,” the minister added.
Dr Afriyie said it had been 20 years of administering anti-retroviral therapy (ART) with the establishment of sites across the country.
“In the course of the month-long commemoration, the President will launch the National HIV and AIDS fund and invite all well-wishers to support the national response.
“We all need to realise that if you are not infected, you will be affected in more ways, hence the need to complement the government’s effort,” he said.
The Director-General of GAC, Dr Kyeremeh Atuahene, mentioned funding as a major challenge to national response and added that over the last two decades, donor funding for the course had reduced from 75 per cent to 33 per cent, creating a huge gap that needed to be filled domestically.
The Executive Director of the National Population Council, Dr Leticia Appiah, said regardless of the progress made, HIV/AIDs remained a public health concern that impacted many worldwide.
She said people had control over their choices but did not have same over its consequences and, therefore, called for the empowerment of communities to make informed choices.
Other stakeholders, who included the Ghana Journalists Association, the Ghana Health Service, the World Health Organisation and the Network of persons living with HIV and AIDs, all pledged their continuing support to the national response.