HIV/AIDS still remains a public health concern in Ghana: Observer’s perspective

HIV/AIDS remains one of the key public health concerns for which many questions remain unanswered towards its control. From the kind of healthcare related news and publications being churn out from our health facilities and health research centers on HIV/AIDS these days, the fight against HIV/AIDS appears to be far from over.

It is however encouraging to observe that there are institutions that are contributing to the fight and making efforts to combat the disease against all the odds. The Kintampo Health Research Centre is one of such institutions strategically positioned in the middle belt of Ghana to help in this fight with the necessary funding. Lack of funding thus is one of the main drawbacks in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

A study by Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC) on “Willingness to Undergo HIV Testing in the Kintampo Districts of Ghana” reports that, of a total of 11,604 respondents interviewed in the study, 10,982 (94.6%) of respondents had good general knowledge of HIV/AIDS. Among those with knowledge about HIV/AIDS, 10,819 (98.5%) indicated their willingness to get tested for HIV [1]. Given that, Ghana is signed on to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS which aims at diagnosing 90% of all HIV-positive persons, provide antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90% of those diagnosed, and achieve viral suppression for 90% of those treated by 2020, this study provides useful evidence on location, testing, treating and retention into care for all HIV positive persons. It also emphasizes the capacity of the institution to support the 90-90-90 fast track agenda if adequately funded to ultimately save lives.

Indeed several efforts have been geared towards reducing the prevalence of HIV in Ghana. Of note is the First Lady of Ghana, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, commitment to support this course with her “Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and Reproductive Health Campaign” [2]. But for the limited financial support given to such forceful institutions, the fight against HIV/AIDS would have produced better results than the current worrying situation.

This notwithstanding, The Ghana News Agency in the recent revelation indicated that “More pregnant women in Ejisu-Juaben test positive to HIV” [3], and  a press release by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) indicates an 18%  increase in new HIV infections between 2015 and 2016 [4].  This GAC recognizes as high for a low prevalence country like Ghana. It is clear the fight against HIV is not over yet and requires concerted efforts from all relevant stakeholders.


–Contributors: Williams B, Martha A, Jacob S, Asante KP

References
[1] L. V. Abokyi, C. Zandoh, E. Mahama, A. Sulemana, R. Adda, S. Amenga-Etego, F. Baiden and S. Owusu-Agyei, “Willingness to Undergo HIV Testing in the Kintampo Districts of Ghana,” Ghana Med J., vol. 48, no. 1, p. 43–46., March 2014.
[2] L. K. Asamuah, “First Lady Commits to prevent HIV infections of mother to child,” 29 Jan. 2018. [Online]. Available: http://www.ghananewsagency.org/health/first-lady-commits-to-prevent-hiv-infections-of-mother-to-child-127971. [Accessed 1 Feb 2018].
[3] K. Owusu-Mensah, “More pregnant women in Ejisu-juaben test positive to HIV,” 29 January 2018. [Online]. Available: http://www.ghananewsagency.org/health/more-pregnant-women-in-ejisu-juaben-test-positive-to-hiv-127967. [Accessed 1 Feb. 2018].
[4] G. A. Commission, “PRESS RELEASE_2018,” 15 Jan. 2018. [Online]. Available: http://www.ghanaids.gov.gh/gac1/PRESS_RELEASE_2018.pdf. [Accessed 6 Feb. 2018].