Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager at the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, has called for intensified education on HIV prevention until a cure or vaccine is found to prevent new infections or reduce the number of positive patients.
“We are calling on civil society groups, chiefs, religious and traditional leaders, to help to talk about HIV and AIDS in the communities so that we prevent new infections,” Dr. Ayisi Addo stated.
Dr. Ayisi Addo, therefore, appealed to the public to support People Living with HIV and AIDS in the communities to help reduce stigmatization and discrimination.
He noted that, unlike other health conditions, HIV was cumulative so anyone who tested positive would be adding to the numbers.
Dr. Ayisi Addo made the call at the Ghana News Agency (GNA) Dialogue platform.
The media platform allows state and non-state and commercial and business operators to communicate to the world.
He encouraged people to access testing and not wait to fall sick before visiting the hospital, stating that there were about 380,000 people living with HIV in Ghana but not all of them were aware.
In addition, he said that people living with HIV had the same life expectancy even more than other people because of treatment.
Dr Ayisi Addo recommended that an enabling environment be created to motivate people to know their status and rather not point fingers at those who had declared their status or look down on them since that would cause them to hide and in effect place others at risk.
The NACP Programme Manager also advised HIV patients on treatment to adhere to their schedule because if they took their medication, the virus was suppressed, undetectable and cannot be transmitted while when they withdraw the virus come back again.
“The message now is there is treatment so even if you know your status, it is not a death sentence,” he said, stressing that whereas the face of HIV had changed, the problem persisted and there were conditions to continue to stay healthy even when one tested positive.
Mr Francis Ameyibor, Regional Manager, Ghana News Agency, Tema, said the Agency had shaped itself as a catalyst for change to promote national development.