Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) in the Upper West Region have expressed concern about irregular supply of Anti Retroviral Drugs (ARTs), which is affecting their health and asked government to intervene help reverse the situation.
The PLHIV expressed the concern during the 2012 World AIDS Day celebration organised by Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in Wa on the theme: “Getting to Zero: Zero New Infections, Zero Discrimination, Zero AIDS Related Deaths’ – Accelerating to Zero Together.”
The PLHIV also complained about high rate of stigmatization and discrimination against them and said it is contributing greatly to a lot of people not willing to take the test to know their status.
Madam Fati Koray, Regional Focal Person said the celebration of the day offered the opportunity for GAC to engage the people to collectively discuss effective strategies to respond to the challenges posed by the disease.
He said the objective for the celebration was to emphasise the need for sustained commitment and accountability from all sectors to HIV and the creation of more awareness about the building of a congenial environment that would lead to increase demand for HIV services.
The celebration also aimed at encouraging the utilisation of HIV testing and treatment services and for the public to recommit themselves to the reduction of new infections and the implementation of National Strategic Plan among other interventions.
Madam Koray said records in the region indicated that as at 2011 a total of 1,346 people had been on ART treatment and were responding favourably.
Alhaji Amidu Sulemana, Regional Minister in a speech read on his behalf, said about 34 million people lived with HIV around the world with about 220,000 infected people in Ghana.
He said in the Region, many children and bread winners have succumbed to HIV and AIDS which had left thousands of orphans, widows and widowers.
He encouraged people to take advantage of the free voluntary testing and counselling services being offered as part of activities to mark the day in order to know their status.
Alhaji Sulemana said government would continue to implement policies to reduce the stigma and ensure available medication for PLHIV.
Dr Kofi Issah, Deputy Regional Director in charge of Public Health said Ghana Health Service would continue to offer technical support to organisations engaged in anti- HIV campaign activities.
He said the Region recorded the highest HIV infection rate of three per cent in 2007, adding that this was reduced to one per cent in 2011 due to the measures put in place by stakeholders.