In the lead up to World AIDS Day 2018, the United States Embassy in Ghana has joined the Government of Ghana partners and civil society organisations to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Ghana, through an anti-stigma and discrimination campaign.
The US is, however, celebrating 15 years of the US-led global initiative under the theme: “Saving Lives through American Generosity and Partnerships”.
A statement issued by the Public Affairs Department of the Embassy, on Friday, said the campaign underscored the US Government’s commitment to eliminate that major barrier in order to achieve the UNAIDS FastTrack Goal of 90-90-90 in Ghana.
In effect, to have 90 per cent of the population tested; have 90 per cent of the HIV positive on treatment, and 90 per cent with suppressed viral loads – as well as usher in an AIDS-free generation by 2030.
Together with the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) and partners such as the Heart-to-Heart HIV Ambassadors, the statement said anti-stigma and anti-discrimination campaign activities took place in the Ashanti, Western, and Volta regions.
The activities included workshops with hospital caregivers, information sessions at Senior High Schools, and free-HIV screenings and counselling at central markets.
“As a result, hundreds of caregivers received sensitivity training, thousands of students participated in anti-stigma activities, and over 700 people received free HIV-screening and counselling across the three regions”.
In partnership with the Africa Center for Development Reporting, the US Embassy also funded and hosted a workshop for health journalists on HIV and AIDS Reporting in the Volta Region.
It said 20 media practitioners discussed the important role of the media to responsibly report and raise awareness about Ghana’s HIV and AIDS response.
The campaign would culminate during the World AIDS Day 2018 celebration in Ho, Volta Region on Saturday, December 1, 2018.
Chargé D’Affaires Christopher J. Lamora would give remarks during this annual celebration alongside high-level representatives of the Government of Ghana, UNAIDS, UNICEF, and PEPFAR partners, it said.
“Since the launch of PEPFAR in 2003, the US Government has invested over $80 billion in the global HIV and AIDS response – including through US bilateral HIV and tuberculosis efforts as well as contributions to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria,” the statement said.
“This represents the largest commitment made by any nation to address a single disease”.