The Ghana HIV and AIDs Network (GHANET) has appealed to members of the public to embrace the self-testing method for HIV and AIDS to know their status to help prevent its spread.
Mr Sule Mahamadu, Northern Regional Chairman of GHANET, who made the appeal, said it was important to promote the habit of frequent self-testing for the disease, adding that the refusal to test at hospitals necessitated the self-test initiative, which needed to be stimulated.
He was speaking during a health walk in Tamale, organised by GHANET in collaboration with the Network of Persons living with HIV (NAP+).
The walk was to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day (WAD).
It began on some streets in Tamale and ended at the central market with demonstrations of the use of condoms to encourage members of the public to adopt condom use in preventing HIV and AIDs through sexual intercourse.
Residents were tested for the virus and sensitised to the use of self-test kits.
WAD is a day set aside in memory of people who lost their lives to HIV and AIDS and to raise awareness on the diseases to enhance prevention.
The theme for this year’s event is: “Let Communities Lead”.
Dr Abduali Abukari, Northern Regional Director of Ghana Health Service said the region had 294 HIV testing centres across the various health facilities where individuals including pregnant women could access testing services, noting that those who tested positive, would receive interventions to prevent their babies from being infected.
He said the path to ending AIDS was a collective responsibility, which began from getting access to HIV testing, connecting people to treatment, supporting them to continue with their medication and other follow up visits as well as getting access to treatment for opportunistic infections and other co-morbidities.
Alhaji Shani Alhassan Saibu, Northern Region Minister, whose speech was read on his behalf, said marking WAD with a health walk signified love to HIV and AIDS patients and in solidarity with those who lost their lives through HIV and AIDS related causes.
He urged residents to test for the disease to ascertain their status as a guide to prevention or treatment and warned that statistics on HIV and AIDS generally were