June 20, 2024
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World AIDS Day: Northern region records lowest HIV/AIDS prevalence in Ghana.

The Ghana AIDS Commission in the northern region in collaboration with partners has held this year’s World AIDS Day at Bimbilla  in the Nanumba North municipality of the region with a for multi-sectoral approach in reducing new infections in the country. This year’s World AIDS Day was held globally on December 1, 2022 on the theme: Equalize. The World Health Organisation is calling on global leaders and citizens to boldly recognize and address the inequalities which are holding back progress in ending AIDS; and equalize access to essential HIV services particularly for children and key populations and their partners – men who have sex with men, transgender people, people who use drugs, sex workers, and people in prisons.

Addressing a durbar of Chiefs and people of Bimbilla, Mr Nuhu Musah, northern region technical coordinator at the Ghana AIDS Commission said 9, 859 HIV/AIDS  related deaths occurred in 2021.

He further revealed that in 2021, the estimated national adult HIV prevalence was 1.67 percent with 345, 599 people were living with HIV in the country. He said the figure constituted 319,021 adults while 28, 578 were children with 16,938 new HIV infections.

Mr Musah said the northern region recorded the lowest national prevalence of 0.47 percent in 2021 as compared to 0.6 percent in 2020 with Bono region highest national prevalence.

He said though the global theme is equalize, the “Equalize” however in line with the commission’s 20th anniversary, it has adopted “Twenty years of multi-sectoral response to HIV and AIDS in Ghana: Accelerating progress to end AIDS” as the National theme.

“Inequalities still persist for the most basic services like testing and treatment. We must ensure that everyone everywhere has equal access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment and care. Health services should be adapted to reach and meet the needs of populations most at risk and affected and this includes implementing a ‘zero tolerance’ policy to stigma and discrimination in all health services” Mr. Nuhu emphasized.

He commended health workers for the resilience in the response against HIV/ AIDS over the years, stressing that without their work and effort, the Ghana AIDS commission couldn’t have made significant impact. He also poured encomiums on development partners for their continuous support over years in sustaining the commission’s campaigns and policies.

Mr Sule Sulemana, northern region Chairperson of Network of Persons Living with HIV and AIDS appealed to the residents of the region to make testing for HIV a priority especially men. He revealed that most people were afraid to test to know their HIV status owing to the fear being stigmatized after they might have tested positive. He admitted that being tested positive is not a death warrant citing his own ordeal he went for refusing to test and know his status.

He noted that but for the intervention of his family members he would have died for resisting to test and signing onto the antiretroviral therapy. He said the antiretroviral therapy gives hope to HIV positive people, hence knowing ones status gives you the opportunity to be put on the therapy and prolongs ones as you would have expected to live.

Story by Ibrahim Angaangmeni Alhassan/radiotamaleonline.com

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