Ending AIDS by 2030, Minister calls for support

Media Engagement to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day celebration
Media Engagement to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day celebration

Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister has called upon citizens in the region especially, the media to support the government in strengthening collaborations in pursuit of joint effort to ending AIDS by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs.

He bewailed that the HIV situation in the region continues to be a growing concern as the 2020 National and Sub-national HIV and AIDS estimates and projections report puts the HIV prevalence in the region at 1.7% as against the national average of 1.68%.

He divulged that the region is ranked among the top five (5) regions in Ghana with the highest new HIV infections, more than 1,200 people became infected with HIV in 2020 with an estimated 25,620 people living with the virus in the region.

He maintained that to reduce new HIV infections, it was important that all work together to create the necessary awareness and educate the public on the modes of HIV transmission as well as the precautions that can be taken to avoid getting infected.

Mr Darko-Mensah made the call in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Kojo Acquah, Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of Effia-Kwesimintsim Municipality (EKMA) at a Media Engagement to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day celebration.

He announced that the Regional Committee of the Ghana AIDS Commission under his leadership was very committed at addressing the obstacles that slows down the progress to ending the AIDS epidemic in the region.

He cautioned against stigmatization and discrimination against persons living with HIV since it discourages them from accessing treatment and encouraged everyone to take advantage of every available HIV testing and Counseling (HTC) services in their communities to test and know their HIV status.

“If you test and you are HIV positive, seek early treatment. When this is done, the virus will be suppressed and this will help you live a longer life. Be bold get tested, Know your Status today, and help stop new HIV infections”, he stressed.

He used the occasion to commend all stakeholders working in diverse ways to ensure that HIV was eliminated from the society and imploredthem to continue to support the national response since together AIDS can be ended.

“With the support of the media we can reach almost everyone with the basic preventive HIV messages. We need not leave anyone behind because no one is safe until everyone is safe”, he stated.

Touching on this year’s theme, “End inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics”, he said the theme reminds all of the urgent need to tackle underlying social wrongs that hamper the goal of ending AIDS by 2030.

Mr Darko-Mensah noted that tackling inequalities will advance the human rights of vulnerable populations and persons living with HIV, make societies better prepared to manage COVID-19 and other pandemics, and support economic recovery and stability.

The World AIDS Day celebration gives people around the world the opportunity to unite in response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic and assess efforts made at managing and controlling the epidemic. It is also to remember those who have died from AIDS-related causes and to raise public awareness about HIV and work towards its elimination.

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