W/R recorded over 1k HIV infections in 2020

The Western Region recorded a total of 1,255 new HIV infections in 2020.

Currently, the Region is among the Top 5 regions with the highest new HIV infections with an estimated 25,620 people living with the virus in the Region

The 2020 National and Sub-national HIV and AIDS estimates and projections’ report puts the HIV prevalence in the Region at 1.7 percent as against the national average of 1.68 percent.

Elllembelle has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the Region at 2.3 percent with Shama having the lowest at 1.2 percent.

As the world marks the World AIDS Day, on the theme ‘End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemics’, Western Region Minister Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah reminds stakeholders in the Region of the urgent need to tackle underlying social wrongs that hamper the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

“Tackling inequalities will advance the human rights of vulnerable populations and persons living with HIV, make societies better prepared to manage Covid-19 and other pandemics and support economic recovery and stability.”

At a media briefing to mark the Day, the Dean of MMDCEs in the Region, Kojo Acquah, who is also thr MCE for Effia-Kwesimintsim, spoke on behalf of the regional minister and called for a spirited but renewed effort and strategy in tackling new infections.

“To reduce new HIV infections, it is important that we work together to create the necessary awareness and educate the public on the modes of HIV transmission as well as the precautions that can be taken to avoid getting infected. …With the support of the media we can reach almost everyone with the basic preventive HIV messages.”

According to the regional minister, “the Regional Committee of the Ghana AIDS Commission under my leadership is very committed at addressing the obstacles that slow down our progress to ending the AIDS epidemic”.

“Let’s stop stigmatizing and discriminating against persons living with HIV. It discourages them from accessing treatment. I encourage everyone to take advantage of every available HIV testing and Counselling (HTC) services in your communities to test and know their HIV status. If you test and you are HIV positive, seek early treatment. When this is done, the virus will be suppressed and this will help you live a longer life.”

Strategies and interventions

Western Regional Technical Coordinator for the Ghana AIDS Commission Francis Antonio listed a number of strategies and interventions put in place to accelerate progress to ending AIDS.

“We have the HIV self-testing where people can now get access to the HIV first response test kits and get screened to know their status at their own convenience and privacy. There is also the Back to Care campaign which is an initiative to identify, trace and bring back ART clients who have defaulted. Then there is the Treat All policy and same day ART initiation which is a rapid initiation of antiretroviral therapy recommended to a person who has been diagnosed with HIV irrespective of the CD4 count to start treatment on the same day.”

By Eric Yaw Adjei|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana

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