According to the GHS, with a current national adult prevalence of 1.7 per cent, Ghana had witnessed a decline in HIV prevalence from 3.6 per cent in 2004 to 2.0 per cent in 2019.

Although there had been some progress, the GHS said the disease was still formidable in the country.

The Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Kuma-Aboagye said this at the launch of World AIDS Day in Accra on Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

The GHS data

According to Dr Kuma-Aboagye, “an estimated 342,307 of the approximately 38 million people estimated to be living with HIV worldwide are in Ghana, and 153,901 of the 25.4 million had access to treatment as of the end of 2019”.

He said a review of the data so far showed that the GHS’s overall uptake, including HIV services, was below expected targets due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adding that the impact of the pandemic was, however, significantly mitigated by the timely provision of clear guidelines and commodities for service delivery, continuous monitoring and engagement with stakeholders to address challenges during the second quarter of the year.

Prevention

The director-general, hence, advised that that staying safe from HIV infections meant adopting a comprehensive combination of prevention and promotion strategies, including the use of condoms and accessing testing and treatment services.

He said due to the new public health threats that were likely to emerge after the COVID-19, it had become very important for people living with HIV to adhere to the anti-retroviral therapy (ART).

“The public must take all necessary precautions to remain free from HIV, while we work harder to find a lasting cure for HIV. Till the latter is achieved, let’s maintain the high management record and success through adherence to ART, as we have achieved with the COVID-19,” Dr Kuma-Aboagye said.