Mr Nuhu Musah, the Technical Coordinator of the Technical Support Unit (TSU) of the Ghana AIDS Commission, has urged Ghanaians to continue patronising the HIV Voluntary Services (HVS).
He said though the infection rate of the disease had reduced, it was necessary for Ghanaians to patronise the HVS, previously referred to as Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) to know their HIV status to live healthier lives.
Mr Musah made the call when the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) organised an HIV counselling and testing programme to end the Easter celebrations at the Kamina Barracks, in Tamale.
The event was part of the UNAIDS’s global target to end AIDS by 2030,with a short-term target to be achieved by 2020 - known as 90-90-90 fast track targets.
Ghana was among the countries to adopt the 90-90-90 targets during the 25th African Union (AU) summit, in South Africa, in 2015.
Mr Musah explained that the target was to ensure that 90 per cent of all persons living with HIV would get to know their status HIV; for 90 per cent of all persons diagnosed with HIV infection to receive antiretroviral therapy and be sustained on it; while 90 per cent of all persons receiving antiretroviral therapy would have their viral loads suppressed.
He said it was the desire of the Director-General of the GAC for all regions to utilise all public gatherings, especially during traditional festivals, to test as many people as possible to achieve the first 90 per cent target.
“This is just the beginning, we would continue to organise similar activities throughout the year to ensure that Ghana achieves the first 90 per cent target,” he stated, and advised Ghanaians to make sure they know their HIV status for early treatment.
Madam Iddi Abiba, the Tamale Metropolitan Public Health Nurse , explained the importance of voluntary testing, saying, “It helps the health personnel to decide when to enroll those who test positive on treatment and to advise them on how to stay healthy even with the HIV infection.”
Chief Alhassan I. Amadu, the Northern Regional Population Officer, and a member of the Regional AIDS Committee, advised against stigmatisation and discrimination, which he said, impeded access to treatment.
He urged traditional and religious leaders to use their positions to help fight against new HIV infections by lending their support to the first 90 per cent campaign.
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