Some 1,186 people were screened for HIV/AIDS and Covid-19 at five different locations in three regions on 2022 World AIDS Day.

Screening was carried out at Adabraka ATP, Accra Digital Center in the Greater Accra Region, Kasoa in the Central Region as well as Nsawam and Asutuare in the Eastern Region.

Some 247 people got screened at Adabraka ATP, 332 at Accra Digital Center, 250 at Kasoa, 157 at Asutuare, and 200 at Nsawam.

Under the theme “managing HIV/AIDS in a COVID-19 era based on a campaign dubbed “#BeDoubleSure” a clarion call was made for Ghanaians to stay alert and guarded against the two viruses.

Though the day is originally set aside to mark the successes chalked in the fight against HIV/AIDS infections, create more public awareness and the way forward, GIZ included the screening of other ailments such as COVID-19, Blood pressure monitoring, Blood Sugar monitoring, Body Mass Index amongst others.

The Head of the medical team at Accra Digital Center and Adabraka ATP, Dr Kojo Essel said cardiovascular disease kills more Ghanaians than covid-19 and HIV/AIDS combined and therefore it was “critical to continue these screening exercises to promote awareness so people can protect themselves”.

He further stated with the current advancement and exploits in the field of medicine, a couple who has one partner with a positive HIV status can still procreate without infecting both their babies and the partner.

“As the theme of this project suggests; Managing HIV/AIDS in Covid-19 era, it happens that at the moment we have two viruses that have similar patterns when it comes to stigmatisation which is very unnecessary. The goal today and the future is to get people screened for both. HIV for example, the treatment and management has gotten to the extent where you can get the virus almost negligible or zero in your blood and you can live a life just like you didn’t have HIV. So the country is targeting 2030 where we are looking at having no AIDS at all” he said.

A beneficiary of the programme, Isaac Boako believes “every human needs to take their health issues seriously. We are living in a world where strange diseases crop up daily, so it is imperative to always be in the know of one’s health status in order to take precautions and live healthily.”

On his part, Benson Mestowoda also a beneficiary, observed ” as we mark World AIDS DAY and with the free outdoor screening being undertaken by GIZ and other partners, I thought to myself to take the opportunity to know my status since it affords one to be measured in the choice of lifestyle.”

Charity Owusu Danso who has lived with HIV/AIDS for more than 20 years and remarried during the period with six HIV negative children cautioned Ghanaians against stigmatization.

She said, “both diseases are harmful and one can be bedridden if not careful that is why I work as an advocate. Don’t hide your status and don’t be ashamed”.

According to a report by the World Health Organisation WHO, an estimated 38.4 million people are living with HIV as of December 2021 of which 25.6 million are in the African Region.

The alarming nature of the figure has ignited frantic efforts being put in place by various governments around the globe to reverse the trend.

To mitigate the rate of new infections, governments and multilateral entities such as GIZ, are investing huge sums of money in research and production of viral suppression medications in order to safeguard human capital.

According to the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, though the country has scaled up efforts to reduce the rate of new HIV infections there is an increase in the prevalence rate among the female population in the country.

He intimated the situation is a result of complacency on the part of Ghanaians and the activities of illegal mining popularly known as GALAMSEY in the country.

He, therefore, called for concerted efforts to nip the menace in the bud.

“With the disturbing figures of new HIV infections being recorded, one, therefore, is obligated to take their destiny into their own hands to live a precautionary life for the World to win the battle against the HIV/ AIDS menace.”

The campaign was spearheaded by GIZ and funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development through develoPPP.

The move is part of the Comprehensive Pandemic Management for Employees, Families and Communities being implemented by GIZ together with five private partners.

The EU, Kasapreko, Blue Skies, Appointed Time, Golden Exotics, Coca-Cola and the French embassy were development and private partners.

Source: Ghana/ Powell