Ghana Reduces Spread of HIV/Aids By Musah Umar Farouq

THE DIRECTOR General of Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Angela El-Adas has stated that Ghana has reduced the number of new HIV infections among children by 76% – due to increased coverage of anti-retroviral prophylaxis for pregnant women living with HIV.

According to her, from 31% in 2009, children born with HIV to positive mothers declined in 2012 to 9% and that Ghana is the only country in West and Central Africa to reduce mother-to-children transmission (MTCT) of HIV to this level.

The Director General of Ghana AIDS Commission announced this in Wa in the Upper West Region recently, during the observation of World AIDS Day.

The Sub- theme was "Accelerating the National HIV Response Towards the Millennium Development Goals".

She said adult HIV infection has dropped by over 60% in 10 years, from 3.6% in 2003 to 1.37% in 2012 and that new infections have dropped from 26,000 per annum to fewer than 8000 in 2012, while the number of AIDS-related deaths has also declined significantly.

Dr. El-adas pointed out that Upper West Region recorded an increase in HIV prevalence from 1.0% in 2011 to 1.2% lower than the national adult HIV prevalence of 1.37%.

The Vice President, Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur on his part said Ghana was committed to protecting the rights of persons living with HIV and will continue to ensure that "we also eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV to guarantee an HIV Free Generation in Ghana."

He said that achieving less than 5% mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015 was the next important goal to be achieved and work on closing the resource gap needed to help Ghana accelerate to zero new infections, zero stigma, discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths by 2015.

Mr. Arthur said government cannot achieve the goals of the national response to HIV and AIDS alone and needed Communities, Civil Society Organizations, the private sector, religious leaders and the general population to continue playing the role as social partners to ensure that every section of the community would be reached with HIV and AIDS.

The Upper West Regional Minister, Dr. Ephraim Avea Nsoh directed all Municipal/District Chief Executives in the region to transfer 0.5% of their common fund to the M-SHAP Accounts for monitoring and other HIV/AIDS activities in the districts.

Dr. Nsoh said that Hepatitis B, Asthma and Malaria are more deadly than HIV and questioned why people should discriminate and stigmatize people living with HIV virus as they have the chance of living longer than people with the other conditions.

He stated that Upper West is the one of the regions with the lowest HIV prevalence rate in the country and commended the people for their efforts and role at reducing it in the region.