More PLHIV Living Longer, Healthier – GHS

Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye (third right), Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi (second left), Presidential Advisor on HIV/AIDS, and others unveiling the logo


More Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) are living longer and healthier, Director General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, has said.

According to Dr. Kuma-Aboagye, this achievement is due to the use of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), a combination of antiviral drugs that effectively suppresses the replication of HIV in the body, and delays the progression of the disease allowing those living with HIV to live healthier and longer.

Currently, an estimated 354,927 people are living with HIV in the country. Out of this, seven per cent are children aged 0-4, six per cent adolescents aged 10-19, whilst the remaining 87 per cent are adults.

In line with the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets, 254,753 (72 per cent) of the estimated PLHIV know their status, out of this number, 222,581 (83 per cent) are on ART and 151,549 (68 per cent) have achieved viral suppression in the country.

Dr. Kuma-Aboagye said this has resulted in the country witnessing a decline in HIV related mortalities, saying, “This means that more Ghanaians are living longer and healthier lives with HIV.”

He made this known at the launch of the 20th anniversary celebration of Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) in Accra organised by the Ghana Aids Commission (GAC)) and other partners.

The launch also witnessed the unveiling of the anniversary logo to celebrate the achievements of ART treatment for persons living with HIV in Ghana, which began in December 2003.

Director of Public Health, GHS, Dr. Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe, said the launch sought to celebrate the significant achievements of the past and also renew commitment to eradicate HIV and AIDS once and for all.

He said, “While tremendous progress has been made, we cannot rest until every person, regardless of their socio-economic status or geographical location, has access to life saving antiretroviral therapy.”

President of NAP+ Ghana, Elsie Ayeh, said she had been on the ART treatment for the past 20 years, and described it as a ‘life saver’.

Ms Ayeh, however, indicated that stigmatisation and self-confidence of PLHIV were still issues of concern and called on family members to support PLHIV so they can continue with their treatment.

She called on Ghanaians to contribute to the HIV Fund by donating to the shortcode ×9898# to help keep PLHIV alive and prevent transmissions.

The launch was on the theme: “20 years of HIV Antiretroval Treatment in Ghana: Celebrating the progress, ending the epidemic.

By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri