GHANA – The National Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDs Control Programme (NACP) has warned about the rise in new infections with HIV and AIDS-related deaths in Ghana.

According to statistics from the NACP, a total of 23,495 tested positive for HIV in Ghana for the first half of this year and the figure is two percent of the 948,094 people who undertook HIV testing from January to June 2022.

Currently, Ghana has a 1.7 percent HIV prevalence, which means that of every 100 people tested in the country, two are positive for the disease. At the end of 2021, 16,938 new HIV infections were recorded in the country, with 9,859 persons dying from the disease,” the organization said.

The Ghana HIV and AIDs Network (GHANET), in collaboration with the National AIDS Control Programme, organized a media training workshop under the theme, ‘Rethinking HIV interventions for Vulnerable Populations in the country.’

As HIV cases rise globally, the main objective of the workshop was to rethink current HIV programming and interventions in the face of dwindling donor support.

The low use of contraception and other family planning (FP) methods among the Ghanaian public is highly associated with the spread of HIV/AIDs in the country,” Programme Manager of the NACP, Dr. Stephen Ayisi-Addo said.

A network of institutions leading the HIV and AIDS response in the country has also begun national stakeholder engagements as part of processes to review interventions for better outcomes.

The key focus of national interventions involves mass education, testing, administration of pre- and post-exposure prophylaxis, promotion of condom use and anti-retroviral treatment.

Furthermore, the National STIs and HIV/AIDS Control Programme has implored the general public to take seriously testing to know their HIV status in the wake of increased infections across the country.

The Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at the Programme, Kenneth Ayeh Danso said testing was the only way out to put those reactive to the virus on early treatment and for person’s negative to take precautionary measures against infection.

Per a 2021 HIV/AIDS estimate of about 345,599 persons living with HIV (PLHIVs) in Ghana, 22.7 percent (78,450) were among men who had sex with men and female sex workers,” he observed.

He emphasized that testing to know one’s HIV status would set the country on the path to achieving the UNAIDs 95-95-95 target of having 95 percent of PLHIVs knowing their status, 95 percent on anti-retroviral treatment and 95 percent attaining viral suppression by 2025.

Currently, we have achieved 71-99-79 of these targets, which means there is a huge gap at people knowing their HIV status and people sticking religiously to their medications to achieve viral suppression,” Danso said.

He further emphasized that reducing new infections and ending AIDS were a shared responsibility because their impact was felt by all.

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