Verifie Health Ghana, UNAIDS Ghana, Ghana Aids Commission and the French Embassy have launched a project dubbed #IKnowMyStatus in commemoration of this year’s World Aids Day.
The campaign is to offer HIV education, counseling and testing conveniently to young people. Speaking at the launch of the project in Accra, Founder and CEO for Verifie Health Dr. Alexander Quaisie disclosed the initiative will target the youth.
“Verifie’s approach in these unchartered times is to provide HIV testing to young people within the ages of 18 and 40 at home or at any place of convenience at no cost.” He stated.
According to Dr. Quaisie, in line with this year’s World Aids Day theme ‘ Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility’, he and his team are committed to mobilizing young medical professionals such as doctors, physician assistants, clinical psychologists, nurses, lab experts and medical students by harnessing the spirit of volunteerism in the implementation of the project.
Country Director for UNAIDS Mrs. Angela Trenton-Mbonde in a keynote address pointed out Ghana’s law requiring parental consent for adolescents below 18 years before accessing HIV test as inimical for the fight against the disease.
“What are the impediments to individuals knowing their HIV positive status in Ghana? One example is the law requiring parental consent for adolescents younger than 18 years to access HIV testing. You can see clearly how this law could prevent an adolescent younger than 18 accessing an HIV testing if that person does not want to talk to his or her parents about the situation. What can you do to generate discussion on this law so all the issues are brought out and decisions are taken that would be helpful?” She queried.
According to her, Ghana is likely to miss the 90-90-90 2020 target set by the UN in the fight against the virus.
“Ghana is one of the countries that must catch up with respect to reaching the global targets. At the end of 2019, Ghana’s figures in relation to the 90-90-90 targets were 58-77-68. This means that 42% of people living with HIV were not aware of their HIV positive status.” Mrs. Trenton-Mbonde stated
United Nations member states agreed to reach the bold and ambitious 90-90-90 targets by 2020 which would lead to the pathway of ending AIDS by 2030 within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals. That is 90% of people living with HIV would know there status; 90% who know their HIV positive status would be on antiretroviral treatment; and 90% of persons on antiretroviral treatment would become viral suppressed whereby HIV in the body is undetectable and at that point it becomes un-transmittable.
The UNAIDS country director stated Ghana’s has become complacent in the fight against HIV and AIDS. She therefore lauded the initiative from Verifie Health to assist the country in achieving the new UN target of 95-95-95 by 2025.
“Confidential community testing, the innovation of self-testing and providing broader reproductive health services which Verifie are strategies which Verifie plans intends to adopt. These are laudable approaches that are aligned with global best practices in HIV prevention and testing which UNAIDS is promoting over the next five years. I see the Verifie Know Your Status” project as a great opportunity to promote solidarity and shared responsibility, including the advocacy needed to ensure an enabling environment for the project to succeed.”
Speaking to Starr News, Deputy CEO for Verifie Health Ghana Dr. Emmanuel Amankrah conceded the fight against HIV AIDS has lost steam in recent times. He however assured the public of confidentiality with the #IKnowMyStatus project