Ghana will on Sunday December 1, climax its month-long celebration of World AIDS Day with a durbar at the Ghana International Trade Fair Site, in Accra.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Opare, Health Minister Kwaku Agyeman-Manu and United States Ambassador Stephanie Sullivan are among the dignitaries expected to participate in the event, under the theme: “Communities make the Difference, Help end AIDS”,
Communities have been identified as critical partners in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Speakers will, therefore, encourage them to join in the implementation of the national response to the epidemic.
“With every individual belonging to one community or another, be it a community of practice, place, interest, or circumstance, we must identify a part to play effectively in the response,” the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) said on November 1, when it launched the month-long programme.
The Acting Director General of GAC, Kyeremeh Atuahene, said, communities could assert their influence in ensuring increased access and easy availability of quality medical care to populations at risk or already infected with HIV.
They could also, among other interventions, ensure the dissemination of HIV-related facts and promote education on risk reduction behaviours.
Experts say a lot of progress has been made since the HIV/AIDS epidemic received global attention in the 1980s.
According to the World Health organisation, of the 37.9 million people living with HIV at the end of last year, 79% received testing, 62% received treatment, and 53% had achieved suppression of the HIV virus, with a reduced risk of infecting others.
Additionally, with 63 per cent are on Anti-Retroviral treatment.
Thousands of community health workers and members of the HIV and key population networks – many of whom are living with HIV or affected by the epidemic have contributed to the successes chalked up.
However, much more is needed to meet the needs of the people living with the virus.
The UNAIDS says, there were 1.7 million new infections last year, 77,000 AIDS related deaths and 32 million deaths globally, since the start of the epidemic.
The World AIDS Day, was thus instituted by the UN AIDS Programme to inspire solidarity for persons infected and affected by the disease, provide the opportunity for countries to review progress and prepare for the ensuing year.