Editorial: Ghana Aids Commission Should Stop Whining And Buckle Down

In Ghana, an estimated 50 people are infected with HIV every day, the Ghana AIDS Commission has said. According to graphic online report, majority of the new infections have been identified as persons between 15 and 49 years old, the economically active population.

The data announced during the release of the 2023 national and sub-national HIV and AIDS estimates and projections also showed that a total of 334,095 people were living with HIV/AIDS in the country, with 17,550 of the number being children below 15 years.

The data also indicated that the country recorded 17,774 new HIV infections, with 1,698 being children below 15 years and 16,076 representing adults above 15 years. The data showed that new infections, AIDS deaths and HIV prevalence were declining, but not sufficient to achieve the set goals and targets.

However, announcing the statistics at a media engagement to disseminate the results and discuss the implications and enhance understanding of the HIV estimation process to promote ownership of the results among stakeholders, the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Kyeremeh Atuahene, said although significant strides had been made in the implementation of HIV interventions, more needed to be done to achieve the expected target.

Between 1986 when the virus was first detected in Ghana and 2000, HIV/AIDS was considered as one of the dreadful diseases in the world. In those days, the carriers were seen as people who had already signed their death warrants. But following intensive public education, not only were we, as a country, able to control the rapid spread of the disease, but managed to whittle down the excessive stigmatisation of those who were suffering from the disease.

However, when the anti-retroviral drugs, which suppresses the destruction of the affected person’s immune system, but cannot cure the disease emerged on our side of the world, the intensive campaign strategy we had adopted to control the spread was somehow discarded.

As we put this editorial together, people in Ghana no longer fear the HIV/AIDS virus because of the assurance that infected people will not die, so long as they keep on taking the anti-retroviral drug.

This negative perception is what in our opinion, is fuelling the upsurge in new cases that are being recorded. The above narration clearly tells a story that the Ghana Aids Commission has great deal of work to do. The release of the frightening statistics will not deal with the problem at hand, especially when the negative perception among the population had already sunk deep into their minds that, HIV/AIDS is no more a killer disease.

Though the anti-retroviral drugs help to prolong the life span of people who have been infected by the disease, it comes with a huge financial cost to the nation, as access and treatment are sponsored by the government.

What Ghana Aids Commission must do is to introduce a comprehensive campaign strategy that will awaken Ghanaians from their slumber, by running away from unprotected sex, which is the major source of spreading the virus.

Until this is done to raise awareness about the dangers of the disease, the latter will keep on rising, with the concomitant effect on the economic well-being of the people. We have to change the strategy instead of complaining about the spread, which is no more news to Ghanaians.


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