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14,000 Ghanaians die of HIV/AIDS annually

Three bodies responsible for the welfare of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana have appealed to President Akufo-Addo’s government to immediately activate the National HIV and AIDS Fund and include it in the 2023 Appropriation Bill.

This was made known last Friday, November 11, 2022, at a joint press conference by the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network (GHANET), Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in health in Accra.

According to the bodies, this has become necessary because the Global Fund, which has been the single largest donor of the National HIV and AIDS response since 2002 has threatened to cut back on its support to Ghana.

This support cut is in the area of supply of antiretroviral (ART) medication and other essential commodities required in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Speaking to Journalists, the President of GHANET, Mr Ernest Amoabeng Ortsin said since this information came, “we have become apprehensive and unable to determine the future of persons living with the disease should the Global Fund go ahead with their plans.”

Mr Amoabeng said statistics available in Ghana indicate that an average of 14,000 Ghanaians die of HIV and AIDS and record an average of 19,000 new infections for the past five years.

Currently, over 350,000 Ghanaians are living with HIV of which over 250,000 are adults and over 12, 000 of the figure are children who are surviving on ART medications. Again, the disease has rendered over 235,000 children orphans.

He said the government of Ghana in 2016, responding to the dwindling inflow of donor funds, took a decision to establish the National HIV and AIDS Fund to domestically generate resources to undergird the national fund.

“However, six years on, this all-important fund is yet to see the light of the day for reasons we cannot comprehend. On many occasions, CSOs have drawn the attention of policymakers for the critical need of the fund but so far all the efforts have been to no avail,” he stated.

Mr Amoabeng revealed that, for over ten years now, all HIV and AIDS education, sensitization and campaigns at schools, marketplaces, churches, lorry stations mosques, local communities and the media have been halted because there are no resources to embark on such activities.

“We now have a group of young people who know practically next to nothing about HIV and AIDS and it, therefore, comes as no news that adolescent girls and young women accounted for 20% of total new infections in the year 2021.”

The bodies, therefore, appealed to the First Lady, Mr Rebecca Akufo-Addo, that “there is no way to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and AIDS by 2030 if we don’t make resources available for the national response.

“We are therefore appealing to her as the mother of the nation and a host of others including development partners to add their voice to the call for the activation of the National HIV and AIDS Fund,” the bodies stated.

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