The Ghana AIDs Commission in collaboration with Sunyani Municipal Assembly has marked the World AIDs Day with a strong call on the public to stop the discrimination and stigmatisation of People Living with HIV (PLHIV).
The essence is to contribute to prevent the spread of the disease to reduce the prevalence rate, Madam Justina Owusu-Banahene, the Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said at a durbar organised to mark the occasion.
Madam Owusu-Banahene, at the event held under the theme: “Communities Make the Difference - Help End AIDS” said everybody could be affected at any time; hence the need to stop discrimination and stigmatization of affected persons.
She expressed concern that stigmatizations and discrimination of the affected individuals were some of the leading causes of the spread of the virus, adding however, that “HIV is not a death sentence”.
Madam Owusu-Banahene added that despite the fact that a permanent cure hasn’t been discovered for the disease, there are many ways it can be controlled to increase the life expectancy of affected persons, provided society does not reject them.
The MCE said there is a need for PLHIV to be accepted and guided to religiously take their prescribed drugs as directed by health managers, adding that by doing so, the “nation can even exceed its 90-90-90 target by 2020”.
In a speech read on his behalf, Dr Kofi Issah, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regions Director of the Ghana Health Service, said at least 90 per cent of the population must test to know their HIV/AIDs status by the end of 2020.
He said 90 per cent of those tested positive must be put on Antiretroviral Treatment and 90 per cent of those on treatments also must have achieved viral suppression by 2020.
Dr Issah revealed that as of September this year, the three regions – Bono, Bono East and Ahafo have achieved 87, 50 and 69 per cent of 90-90-90 target respectively.
From January to June 2019, 108,954 people in the three regions tested to know their HIV/AIDs status at the various HIV testing service centres and 3,115 new clients identified were put on Antiretroviral Treatment, he added. Dr Issah urged adolescents and unmarried people to abstain from sex.
The Regional Celebration began with a float through the principal streets of the Sunyani City and brought together Junior and Senior High School students, PLHIV, institutional heads, public and private employees, including health workers, community leaders, traditional rulers and members of coalition of non-governmental organizations in health for the durbar. Free HIV/AIDs testing was conducted as part of the program.