The National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) has urged the media to support the fight against HIV and AIDS by drumming home continuously the message of adherence to treatment.
This intervention, the institution believes can contribute immensely to the achievement of epidemic control in the country and the world at large.
National Manager for NACP, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo in a PEPFAR virtual training for journalists on Thursday stressed the important role, the inky fraternity plays in addressing issues of the infection, especially in this Covid-19 pandemic era.
“We want the media to emphasize adherence to treatment; therefore, when people are tested, they shouldn’t live in denial. We can all tell that if you’re on treatment, you’re well, you continue to live and develop. Many people are on treatment for about 15 to 20 years and are well.”
He continued that “The objectives and the goals of achieving epidemic control still remains irrespective of a new epidemic (Covid-19) and that is why we consider this platform a big opportunity to continue to highlight the things that we’re doing and what we expect everyone to do to make sure that we achieve our objectives.”
According to the 2019 National HIV Estimates and Projections from the Ghana AIDS Commission, persons living with HIV (PLHIV) in Ghana number about 342,307. Out of this figure, 316,352 are adults and 25,955 are children.
Also 8,275 deaths were averted with the intervention of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) in 2019 and a projected 11,733 deaths are expected to be averted in the year 2020.
Dr Ayisi Addo intimated that “The theory of change or hypothesis is that, if people are adhering to treatment, then the virus will be suppressed, so the risk of transmitting it will be zero and that is what we call the “Undetectable=Untransmittable”. If we’re no more transmitting in the general public, then we’re achieving protection and epidemic control.”
“Covid-19 has had an impact on your service delivery…so we all need to add our voices to support government to be able to give some more funding to inject into this epidemic which has become a quadruple epidemic because other little epidemics are part of it. All stakeholders and partners including the media must get involved”, he added.
The UNAIDS strategy remains “Test and Treat”, “Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U)”, “95-95-95 by 2030” and anti-stigmatization respectively.
95-95-95 by 2030 means, 95 per cent of people living with HIV to know their HIV status; 95 per cent of people who know their status to be on treatment and 95 per cent of people on treatment to have suppressed viral loads.
PEPFAR and The Global Fund have since 2002 been supporting health programmes in Ghana to substantially increase the number of people receiving prevention, treatment and care for HIV.
Moreover before 2020 ends, NACP and its stakeholders are looking forward to roll out self-testing and Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), enhance differentiated service delivery, strengthen Health Management Information System (HMIS) and further strengthen laboratory systems.