A health and socio-economic improvement-based Non Governmental Organisation, Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), has called on health sector policy implementers and stakeholders to initiate interventions geared towards empowering the youth on AIDS to end the canker.
It said even though the country had made strides in its Human Immune Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) response, the recent slight surge in the disease among young people gave a cause for worry.
This was said in a statement issued on Sunday and copied the Ghana News Agency in Accra in commmemorate World AIDS Day.
The statement said the youth constituted a growing share of people living with HIV worldwide, a situation it said calls for empowerment of such a group to enable them to partake in the (HIV) response.
Globally, the United Nations (UNAIDS) in 2018 estimated that 510,000 young people between ages 10 to 24 were infected with HIV, of this, 190,000 were adolescents between the ages 10 and 19.
Ghana on the other hand has a national HIV prevalence rate of 1.6 per cent and an HIV population of 334, 713, according to 2018 data from the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP).
It also estimated that the adolescent HIV population stood at 21,111, with an estimated 2,062 new HIV infections also recorded in 2018.
“We cannot as a country say we are achieving the 90-90-90 targets and ending AIDS by 2030 if adolescents living with HIV in Ghana are left out from critical decision-making processes concerning their health due to stigma.
Young people need to be part of the design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of HIV services and activities related to prevention, treatment, care and support of people affected by HIV.”
The NGO further noted that the lack of treatment literacy and dedicated adolescent friendly services was a great cause of worry for people living with the virus in the country and therefore called for HIV services to be made available, accessible and meet quality standards.
“Again, despite intensive education and laudable zero-stigma initiatives in Ghana over the years, most of them continue to face gross discernment from a section of the population,” it said.
It also called on government to prioritise and increase domestic resources for health, invest in the general health of the youth to complement the dwindling donor funds.
“Let us end AIDS by empowering young people to make the difference because HIV intervention for young people without them is a mirage,” it said.
World AIDS Day is commemorated on Decemeber 1, annually.
This year’s commemoration is under the theme: “Communities Make the Difference, Help End Ends.”