President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has emphasized the need to reverse the rising trend of HIV infection among the youth in the country.
He has therefore charged the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), the Ministry of Health, Civil Society Organizations and other stakeholders to work together to achieve target goals set for eradication on HIV/AIDS.
President Akufo-Addo said this in a speech read on his behalf at a durbar in Ho to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day.
Ghana marked the Day under the theme, “Test, Treat to suppress and Stop new HIV infections,” alongside the global theme of “Know Your Status.”
President Akufo-Addo asked the youth to adhere to the ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful and Condom use” to contribute to reducing new infections and charged policy implementors to up their game.
The President reiterated government’s commitment to UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 target of 90 per cent of all people living with HIV knowing their status by 2020, 90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy by 2020, and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy having viral suppression by 2020.
He commended development partners for sustaining the fight against HIV, and called for more collaboration to defeat the disease.
Mrs. Shola David Borha, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Bank Africa, reiterated the call on private sector players to join the fight against HIV, saying a “healthy community is a productive community.”
“There’s no need for complacency. It is the responsibility of us all to ensure tomorrow’s generation is free from HIV and AIDS,” she said.
Mrs. Angela Trenton-Mbonde, UNAIDS Country Director, commended the Ghana AIDS Commission for its relentless efforts at ending AIDS, and urged it to sustain the campaign against stigmatization and discrimination.
“Many died because of stigma and discrimination. Stigma and discrimination prevented them from living and accessing life-saving services,” she said.
Mrs. Trenton-Mbonde emphasized the need for everyone to know his or her status, and make good use of antiretroviral therapy for a healthy world, saying UNAIDS would partner stakeholders for a robust advocacy to achieve agenda 90-90-90.
Mr. Christopher Lamora, Charge D’ Affaires, US Embassy, said HIV is a key priority to US and is being addressed through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), which is 10 years in Ghana and 15 years globally.
Mr Shi Ting Wang, the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, said the fight against HIV and AIDS is key to China-Africa cooperation, and stated the readiness of China to work closely with Africa to battle HIV/AIDS.
Mr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, Acting Director General, Ghana AIDS Commission, said the Day offers the Commission an opportunity to take stock and re-strategize to win the fight against HIV/AIDS.
He said the Commission has resolved to be innovative in implementing policies and called for concerted efforts from health workers and civil society organizations.
The event was well attended and heralded by media engagements, community outreaches and public lectures.