Ghana commended for success in HIV control effort

The Country Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), Dr Girmay Haile, has commended Ghana for the successes it has chalked up so far in its HIV and AIDS control campaigns.

According to him, Ghana is one of 25 low-to-middle-income countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, with a 50 per cent reduction in the rate of new HIV infections each year.

Dr Haile made the commendation when some personalities, including ministers of state, actors and actresses, as well as diplomats, joined in the signing of the UNAIDS Protect the Goal (PtG) campaign.

The PtG campaign, initiated last year, is a global pledge by important personalities who sign on to it to protect themselves against HIV and AIDS by adhering to safe sex.

The campaign is aimed at achieving targets of zero new infections and eliminating discrimination and AIDS-related deaths by 2015. 

Among some of the personalities who have signed on to the campaign are the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur; the Minister of Sports, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah; and the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Ms Dzifa Gomashie.

Others are Joselyn Dumas, John Dumelo and Christabel Ekeh, all in the showbiz; Miss Ghana 2013, Giuseppina Nana Akua Baafi; Cyrus Stan Degraft-Johnson, the Corporate Affairs Manager of Accra Breweries, and the CEO of Accents and Arts, Ms Constance Swanicker.

In all, over 100 people have signed on to the pledge, which hinges on three pillars: condom use, knowing your HIV status and reduction in sexual partners.

Ghana on track
The UNAIDS, together with FIFA, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out joint advocacy activities in all competitions organised by the world football governing body in support of the PtG campaign.

According to Dr Haile, with Ghana’s 66 per cent reduction in new infections in 2012, the country was on track to achieving total reduction in new infections.

He commended the country for adhering to the scientific method of managing the virus, as well as putting in place the social structures to educate people, especially on condom use, eliminating stigma and the formation of youth clubs to educate the youth on the virus.

He said currently Ghana was at the stage where individuals, especially the middle class, were being encouraged to protect themselves against the virus.

He said presently the most newly infected groups were the middle class and the youth, saying those groups continued to live in a state of denial of the disease, a situation which he said needed to be changed.

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