Ending AIDS by 2030 possible – Technical Coordinator
Mr Osei-Bonsu Gyamfi, the Upper West Regional Technical Coordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission, (GAC), has indicated that ending AIDS in Ghana by 2030 is possible if all Ghanaians test, know their status and take the necessary precaution against spreading the virus.
He explained that if people who tested negative for HIV guarded themselves from contracting the virus while those who tested positive for the virus were put on regular medication, it would reduce the rate of HIV transmission.
Mr Gyamfi, who said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Wa after the World AIDS Day (WAD), observed that the rate of transmission in the region and the country was alarming and needed stringent efforts, especially of the general populace to end.
This year’s WAD commemoration was on the theme: “Let Communities Lead” which recognised organisations of communities living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV as the frontline of progress in the HIV response.
He explained that the fight against HIV needed collective efforts of all actors, and stakeholders including the media and the general populace not only the GAC.
Mr Gyamfi said the WAD served as an opportunity to unite people for HIV response as there were many organisations and HIV activists who needed to come together with a common goal and harmonised activities.
He said the day also provided an opportunity for awareness creation on HIV, extend the HIV intervention service to the doorsteps of the people, and show solidarity with those who were affected or infected by HIV and those who have died from HIV-related disease.
He said the GAC was working to achieve the agenda “90, 90, 90” of ensuring that at least 90 per cent of the population test to know their HIV status, 90 per cent of those tested positive for HIV are on medication and 90 per cent of those on medication achieve viral suppression.
Mr Gyamfi indicated that some advanced countries were able to control the spread of the virus because each person saw the other as a carrier of the virus and, thus, protected themselves in times of sex.
“If we all have that kind of mindset, we can control the spread of the virus. Even if the person is your boyfriend or girlfriend, he or she is another person’s boyfriend or girlfriend somewhere, so why should you go raw,” he queried.
Mr Gyamfi observed with worry that some female apprentices in the region went in for family planning to avoid pregnancy during their course of training but refused to protect themselves against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) including HIV during sex.
“Yes, you protect yourself against pregnancy what about HIV and other diseases, so the best thing you should do is to always insist that your boyfriends wear condoms. When you wear a condom, you protect yourself against unwanted pregnancy, HIV, and STIs,” he explained.
He explained that HIV populated the semen, vaginal fluid, blood, and breast milk of infected persons and could be contracted through oral sex, direct blood contact with an infected person, and breastfeeding.
The Regional GAC Technical Coordinator, therefore, encouraged the public to use condoms correctly and consistently if they would have sexual intercourse with a person, then their spouses.
Currently, the Upper West Region has an HIV population of 7,185 out of which 536 were children, with a prevalence rate of 2 per cent.
Wa Municipal had 1,902 people living with HIV; Nadowli-Kaleo, 776; Wa West, 730; Sissala West, 612, Daffiama-Bussie-Issa District, 572; Jirapa, 546; Sissala East, 534, Wa East, 457; Nandom, 400; Lawra, 397 and Lambussie had the lowest of 259.