The Minister of Environment who doubles as a medical practitioner, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, has revealed that the national response to reducing new HIV infections took a nose dive in 2021 due to the focus on Covid-19.
Speaking to Kwabena Agyapong on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said the human resources in the medical field were all forced to focus more on combating Covid-19, a situation that affected the response to dealing with HIV.
”I don’t want to state that we lost our guard. But the response in dealing with HIV took a nose dive.”
He also suggested human behaviour contributed to the spike in new HIV infections.
He was, however, hopeful with renewed efforts, the country would see a lower rate in the years ahead.
”We have taken several steps in addressing the issue. We will intensify our campaigns and advocacy to ensure that we reduce the rate of HIV infection.”
He added that improvement had brought new methods making HIV no more dangerous.
He said prisoners living with HIV with the dedication to their drugs would be able to stay longer.
He underscored the need for intensified education of the public so they would stay safe, and avoid risky sexual behaviours to help to reduce the rate of new infections.
He said it is expected that by 2030, we would have eliminated the virus globally, but countries, including Ghana, must put in place measures to achieve that goal.
The medical practitioner noted that the goal is not going to be easy, but if people stay safe and infected persons keep taking their drugs, we will get to that point.
According to current data on the Ghana AIDS Commission’s website, 346,120 people are infected with HIV with only 71% knowing their status.
34% of the population is male, while 66% is female.