Local News

Over 15,000 Persons Living with HIV in Ashanti Region Not on Anti-Retroviral Treatment

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Regional Coordinator Expresses Concern, Calls for Action to Address Shortfall.

A concerning revelation has emerged indicating that more than fifteen thousand persons living with HIV in the Ashanti Region are not receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART), highlighting potential gaps in care and support.

Olivia Graham, the Regional Technical Coordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission, described this number as worrying, emphasizing the importance of ensuring that all individuals diagnosed with HIV have access to the necessary treatment.

Ghana’s fight against HIV/AIDS has evolved significantly since the first case was diagnosed in March 1986. Initially focused on managing opportunistic infections and providing psychological care, the introduction of ART in 2003 marked a turning point in the country’s approach to combating the disease.

Percy Kuranchie, who has been living with HIV since 1990, shared his journey, noting that the availability of ART since 2006 has been transformative. He highlighted the effectiveness of the medication, stating, “I will rate it 99 percent because I can go about my normal activities and through the use of the ARVs, all my four children are negative.”

Despite these successes, challenges remain. Current figures show that out of 72,429 HIV patients in the Ashanti Region, only 56,546 are on ART, leaving a shortfall of 15,883 individuals without treatment. Some of these individuals are reportedly in denial about their status, while others are using unorthodox treatment methods.

Madam Olivia Graham emphasized the importance of treatment not only for the health of individuals but also as a preventive measure. She expressed concern about the high number of individuals not on treatment, as untreated HIV can lead to further health complications and increase the risk of transmission.

As Ghana commemorates 20 years since the introduction of ART, stakeholders are calling for increased government support to ensure timely access to medication. Efforts to combat stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV are also crucial in the country’s fight against the disease.