By: Fred Duhoe | Voltaonlinegh.com |
“Let’s pause and remember the millions of people who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses,” were the words of the UNAIDS Country Director in Ghana, Angela Trenton-Monde.
This, according to her, will afford many more of the population the desire to know their HIV status.
She made this known in her address to mark this year’s World AIDS Day on Saturday in Ho, expressing optimism that the 90-90-90 global target will be achieved when stigmatisation, discrimination and criminalisation of HIV is totally abhorred in society.
The UNAIDS Country Director observed that some level of progress had been made, saying, “it’s encouraging that at the global level, 75 per cent of people living with HIV as at 2017 knew their status.”
In Ghana, there has been improvement by 20 per cent from the 2016 data of 45 per cent of people knowing their HIV status.
The Day saw participation from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the field of HIV and AIDS-related issues while students from second cycle institutions were not left out.
HIV testing stands were available and people had the opportunity to get tested for the first time. Also, sensitisation on sexual reproductive health was offered at the various stands by the CSOs.
Touching on the contribution made over the years by President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Ghana, Christopher J. Lamora was hopeful the tides will soon turn to reflect the investments made by the United States government over the years.
“We’ve invested over 80 billion in the global HIV and AIDS response through US bilateral HIV efforts against tuberculosis and our contributions towards the Global Fund to fight AIDS. In Ghana, approximately 28000 HIV positive Ghanaians will receive treatment with support from the Ghana AIDS Commission and CSOs.”
PEPFAR in marking its 15 years of global existence and 10th anniversary in Ghana has made tremendous contributions towards saving lives and to ensure HIV-free generation.
“The 90-90-90 fast track goal provides that 90 per cent of population get tested, 90 per cent of those HIV positive on treatment and 90 per cent with suppressed viral loads and usher an AIDS-free generation by 2030,” Mr Lamora revealed.
According to the UNAIDS, AIDS-related deaths globally have been cut in half since their peak in 2004 and new HIV infections have been reduced by 47 per cent since 1996.
World AIDS Day is marked every first December to raise awareness and to remember those who died as a result of the AIDS pandemic. The global theme for the 2018 Day was “Know Your Status” with the national theme being “Test, Treat to Suppress and Stop New Infections”.