Public Health Expert, Dr. Nii Nortey Hanson-Nortey, has advised government to keep HIV prevention and treatment high on the political agenda.
With Ghana recording close to 10,000 deaths from AIDS annually, he noted that it was important for the government to take a keen interest in ensuring that the country finally achieves its 95-95-95 testing, treatment and viral suppression rates target set by the United Nations.
The first 95 means that by 2025, 95 per cent of the total population of persons who are HIV positive should know their HIV status.
The second 95 means that by 2025, 95 per cent of those who tested for HIV should be on medication if they tested positive.
While the last 95 says that by 2025, the 95 per cent who are taking their medication should have viral suppression.
Ghana currently has achieved 71-99-79 of this target.
Dr. Hanson-Nortey has thus called on the government to as a matter of urgency continue to invest in the reform of the legal and social environment that pose a challenge to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
According to him, by investing in an effective and efficient response system for sexual and domestic violence, as well as intimate partner violence, government can ensure a stigma and violence free environment.
He stressed the importance of reducing the stigma surrounding HIV testing as well as making HIV testing centres and kits readily available to key populations which include young people, female sex workers and men who have sex with men in order for early detection and management of the virus for viral suppression to be achieved.
He further noted that while key populations face criminalization in the country, it was important that their access to health care services is not impeded by these laws.
This he says will ensure a safe and accessible and inclusive health care service for all and sundry.
He also called on government to invest financially in the various programmes and agencies geared towards fighting and raising awareness about HIV/AIDS to reflect the government’s commitment to ending the epidemic at the stipulated time.
Dr. Hanson-Nortey said this at a workshop organized by GHANET with support from PEPFAR, USAID, EpiC and Civil Society Institute for HIV and Health as part of measures to engage CSOs, media and opinion leaders and state actors to get involved in the awareness creation and fight against HIV/AIDS.
It was on the theme: Rethinking HIV Interventions for Vulnerable Populations in the Country.
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