Check to know your status-Ashanti regional Minister appeals

John-Alexander-AckonThe Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr John Alexander Ackon, has passionately appealed to health workers to consciously encourage people to test to know their HIV status.

This, he stressed would ensure early treatment for persons who are living with the disease or counseling for others who are not affected.

Speaking at a health consultative meeting in Kumasi organized by the Ghana AIDS Commission to brainstorm on a new campaign dubbed 90-90-90 with the first 90 being ways to ensure voluntary testing, the Minister noted effective collaboration by health workers on this drive will lead to the ultimate success of ensuring all test to know their status.

The minister proposed that health workers devise a strategy where they would use their personal lives as well as experiences to encourage patients to test to know their status.

He passionately requested the use of innovative approaches into getting people to test voluntarily without coercion.

According to him, stakeholders could develop a proactive, relevant and regionally suited work plan to addressing any bottlenecks that inhibits voluntary testing.

He noted the 6million people identified in Ghana to be living with HIV could all get the needed support and treatment if innovative ways are found to encourage people to test for their status.

The Minister called on the public and care givers to refrain from stigmatizing people who live with the HIV disease, stressing such behaviors prevent many from getting the confidence to test for their status.

He noted HIV was like any other disease and could be managed if persons who are affected could seek for early treatment.

He maintained drugs were available to treat any person who was living with the disease and called on the public to voluntarily test to know their HIV status since it was better to treat it than to die from it.

Madam Olivia Graham, Ashanti Regional Coordinator for the GAC  welcoming participants on behalf of  Mrs Angela El Adas, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, (GAC) said the 90-90-90 targets reflect essential paradigm shifts in the approach to treatment scale up.

These new targets, she observed would address progress along the HIV cascade of engagement in care, measuring the degree of to which programs are meeting their ultimate goal of viral suppression.

Furthermore, she mentioned the 90-90-90 target emphasizes speed in scale up and early initiation of HIV treatment in a manner consistent with human rights.

Later, there were group discussion from various health professionals, practitioners and workers on how to ensure they follow through the objectives guiding the new initiative of the World Health Organization as well as the Ghana AIDS Commission.

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