Ghana chalks major successes in HIV national response has chalked major successes in HIV national response with consistent declining trends in general adult prevalence over the past ten years, Mrs Angela El-Adas, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission said on Thursday.

“Prevalence stabilised at 1.5 per cent over 2010 and 2011 and decline further to 1.3 per cent last year. This relatively low prevalence translates into 235,982 Persons Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) in Ghana, including 27,734 children who constitute 11.8 per cent of the total population of PLHIV,” she said.

Speaking at the Ghana AIDS Commission 9th Annual Partnership Forum, Mrs El-Adas said the incidence of new infections had also declined, particularly among the youth, 15 to 24 years- old, pregnant women and children.

The forum which has the theme: “Getting to Zero: Accelerating the National Response Towards the MDGs,” is to review progress on the implementation of HIV and AIDS programme, build consensus and galvanise technical and financial support for the next phase of implementing HIV programmes.

Mrs El-Adas said effort to eliminate mother to Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV, with a 76 per cent reduction in new infections among children over four year period 2009 to 2012 with Ghana also recording the highest decline among 22 high impact countries.

“Now more than 10, 000 babies would be born free of the life–threatening disease, and more HIV positive mothers kept alive and healthy,” she said.

She said the treatment coverage of PLHIV, who received antiretroviral treatment (ART) to prevent MTCT increased from 50 per cent in 2011 to 70 per cent in 2012, while numbers of PLHIV added to the treatment programme increased by 70 per cent from June 2013.

With the support of development partners, technical support units have been created across eight regions to strengthen the HIV response by improving coordination, build implementation capacity and monitor the community level response, she said.

Mrs EL-Adas said in spite of the successes, stigmatisation and discrimination continued and affected access to utilization of available HIV services.

“We still have shortage of HIV commodities. There is real and urgent need to strengthen our commodity management systems to ensure that rampant shortages of HIV commodities such as test kits, condoms and antiretroviral drugs whether these shortages are real or perceived, become a thing of the past”.

The Director General said the national response requires massive financial support to ensure that the zero new infection, zero discrimination, zero AIDS-related deaths was achieved.

Mr Rashid Pelpuo, Minister of State at the Presidency in Charge of Public and Private Partnership said government was aware of the good work being done to accelerate the HIV strategic plan and expressed hope that the forum would chart the way forward in this regard.

Dr Pat Youri, Lead Consultant in the Mid Term Evaluation (MTE) shared findings of progress, challenges and recommendations to accelerate the country’s target of the National Strategic Plan objectives.

He said Ghana has made impressive strides but noted that finance was critical to sustain the national response programme.

Source: GNA

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