The Central region with a population of over 3 million, has over 26,000 persons living with HIV, comprising about 9000 males and 17,000 females.
This was announced by the Cape Coast Metro Health Director, Dr. John Oto in his presentation at a training organized for journalists who report mainly on health in the Central region.
According to him, only 68.2% of these persons are being provided anti-retroviral treatment by the Health Service.
He further called on the media to help sensitize and educate people in order to achieve the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (2016-2020) with the goal to end AIDS by 2030.
“2020, 90 percent of all people living with HIV are expected to know their status, 90 percent of people diagnosed with HIV infection are to receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy and 90 percent of people receiving anti-retroviral therapy will have viral suppression,” he said.
The acting Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Mr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, on his part also disclosed that as at December 2018, only 113,000 out of the nearly 335,000 persons living with HIV were on anti-retroviral treatment.
The low uptake of the anti-retroviral treatment, according to him is due to the fact that many diagnosed people are in denial of having the virus or are not aware of the treatment.
He admitted that HIV has no cure and stressed that the virus can be suppressed with the anti-retroviral which is a scientifically proven therapy.
Mr Atuahene further called on journalists to use their medium to educate people, reduce stigma, and encourage behaviour change.
“I encourage you all to use your reach and influence to give people the information they need to protect themselves from HIV, educate them on the treatment in case they are infected with the virus and help reduce stigma and discrimination,” he said.
Participants at the training expressed their gratitude to GAC and UNDP and assured they will raise more awareness on the importance of early detection of the virus.