The Communication and Learning Manager of the International Health Care Centre (IHCC), Ms. Barbara Owusu has said that Viral Load Suppression among People Living with HIV (PLHIV) is critical in the battle against HIV-AIDS.
She indicated that low viral loads translate into lower probability of transmitting the virus to other people and this will ultimately help in the complete elimination of HIV-AIDS by 2030.
Ms. Barbara noted that early HIV test and detention is the sure way to suppress the HIV virus before it accumulates and spread out.
She deepens the call for people to check their HIV status by undergoing periodic tests to early detention and treatment.
This follows the UN global 90-90-90 target for HIV Management which indicates that 90% of those living with HIV should know their status, 90% of those who know their status should be linked to care/treatment and 90% of those linked to care should attain viral load suppression by 2020.
According to the National AIDS Control Programme, at the end of 2017, Ghana had an estimated 315,000 People living with HIV (PLHIV) with around 100,000 being on treatment and an enrolment rate of only 30% whilst the prevalence rate of HIV among the youth aged 15 -24 years is increasing in the country.
“Men are reluctant to patronize the HIV test when the clarion calls. HIV is no respecter of gender and once you have sex with an infected person you are likely to contract the disease. And you will never know that you have it unless you run the test,” Ms. Barbara stated.
She urged Ghanaians to stop the stigmatization of people living with HIV which often result in suicides and needless death of victims.
“Stigmatization is something which is working against our fight to stop the spread of HIV. When we are able to stop stigmatization against victims, it will also help us achieve our 90-90-90 target because there is life after HIV,” Ms. Barbara intimated.
According to her, the reason why the prevalent rate is increasing is because people don’t know they have the HIV virus and those who even know have also refused to disclose it to their partners or even family members and friends because of the fear of being stigmatized.
“A lot of people are/enter into short or long term relationships with their partners who may be carriers of the HIV virus and yet do not know because when they say it their partner will leave them or blow it up publicly,” she stressed.
Ms. Barbara urges HIV patients to adhere to their medications within the first six months so as to suppress the spread of the virus.
IHCC partnered with MTN Ghana Foundation to provide HIV/AIDS education and screening for the general public on World AIDS Day on Saturday, December 1st, 2018 under the theme, “Know Your Status.”
The clarion call on 2018 World AIDS DAY is for all stakeholders to get involved in encouraging as many Ghanaians living with HIV to get tested and treated in order to attain viral load suppression.
About the International Health Care Centre Founded in 1998, the International Health Care Centre commenced operations as one of the very first hospice centres in Ghana dedicated to full-blown AIDS patients. With increasing accessibility to antiretrovirals, the facility shifted focus to becoming an outpatient clinic, offering a full spectrum of first line medical services.
Although the facility now provides general medical care, it maintained its focus on caring for Persons Living with HIV and became one of the accredited Antiretroviral Therapy Sites in Ghana.
The Clinic has continued to work with numerous local and international partners including the Ghana AIDS Commission, the National AIDS Control Programme, the Ghana Health Services to offer affordable and quality health care to Ghanaians.
Other services provided by IHCC include women’s preventive health, family planning, general medicine, vaccinations and the provision of laboratory services. The vision of IHCC is, “a world where everyone has access to affordable and quality health care.”
The Center currently cares for over 1,400 HIV clients in Haatso, Accra and has received a number of awards for its commitment to affordable medical service. For more information on the International Health Care Centre, visit this website http://ihccghana.com.
Dan Soko is a short story author and web content editor. He has work appearing or forthcoming in over a dozen venues, including GhanaScoop, Nigeria Daily News and CapitalBay. When he’s not frightening strangers with his post and writing, he’s most likely frightening his wife Mimi and their two mischievous cats: Buttons and Snaps. You can visit him at www.ghananation.com/author/webby.