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World Aids Day: A call for action

By NAPHS GIMPA
Press Release World Aids Day: A call for action
DEC 3, 2021 LISTEN

With thousands of lives on the line, National Association of Public Health Students-Gimpa Chapter put together a virtual lecture on the topic ‘The Role of Public Health In Ending HIV Epidemic: Equitable Access, Everyone’s Voice.’

The event held virtually saw students and the public listen to inspiring lectures from Dr. Divine Agyemang Lardey, Clinical Applications Specialist with BD West Africa and President of National Association of Public Health Students-University of Ghana Chapter as well as Dr. Steve Kyeremeh Atuahene, Director General of Ghana Aids Commission who were the Speaker and Guest Speaker respectively.

Dr. Atuahene took participants through the current statistics of people living with HIV in Ghana. He indicated that as of end of year 2020, 346,120 persons were living with HIV. Ashanti region recorded the highest number of persons living with HIV followed by the Greater Accra Region with numbers 73,245 and 70,855 respectively. He indicated the need for all hands on deck going forward to end the HIV epidemic in Ghana and achieve the agenda 95-95-95 which is that 95% of people living with HIV being aware of their HIV infection, 95%of all People Living with HIV receiving ART and 95% of people on ART achieving viral suppression within 12 months by the year 2030.Dr. Atuahene ended his lecture by stating that the goal of the Aids Commission is to achieve 95-95-95 by 2025 and that is why he decided to engage students and public health practitioners.

The Speaker, Dr. Agyemang Lardey indicated that a lot more must be done regarding public health education and promotion if the first 95 of 95-95-95 will be achieved in 2025. He said because we cannot see the virus with our eyes, a lot of persons still think it does not exist. He highlighted the need for the following actions: education on the use of condoms and clean needles, support for patients to facilitate their return to care, counseling of individual patients to prevent transmission. Expanded voluntary screening services. He likened the role of public health practitioners in this fight to Evangelists who spread the Good News of Jesus Christ of Nazareth on the streets. Healthcare workers and Public Health Practitioners must be bold to talk about HIV and AIDS anywhere, everywhere and at anytime. He ended by charging all participants with a paraphrased quote by Kennedy to "ask not what their country can do to end HIV and AIDS in their country, ASK WHAT THEY CAN DO TO END HIV AND AIDS IN THEIR COUNTRY."

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