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Regional News of Thursday, 23 July 2020

Source: GNA

Western Region improves on HIV/AIDS coverage

HIV/AIDS treatment. File photo HIV/AIDS treatment. File photo

Despite the challenges presented by the novel Coronavirus pandemic, HIVAIDS interventions have chalked modest increases in coverage in the Western Region.

By end of June 2020, 18, 867 HIV/AIDS clients in the region knew their status, giving a coverage of 87.2 percent out of the 2020 target of 21,641.

Thirteen thousand, two-hundred and thirty-nine of the clients were put on sustained therapy with a coverage of 75.9% while 4,706 of the clients on sustained therapy had virally suppressed.

Dr. Jacob Mahama, Western Regional Health Director who made this known at a media briefing held in Sekondi said this represented an achievement of 56.3% at the end of June 2020.

He attributed the successes to an increase in the number of new ART sites in the region where 25 new sites were created this year, in addition to the 48 of 443 eligible sites, bringing the total ART sites to 73.

According to him, that helped to move HIV services closer to the clients whilst identifying and giving multiple months' worth of drugs, up to six months to stable clients reduced the burden of frequent visits to the clinic.

Dr. Mahama added that early viral load result transmission also helped clinicians to make changes to clients’ medication when the need arose such as early identification of treatment failure.

He further deemed the success to the introduction of a new ARV drug, called "DOLUTEGRAVIR", that quickens the attainment of viral suppression.

However, he mentioned the difficulty in tracing clients who had defaulted or were lost to follow up due to wrong addresses and phone numbers as some challenges to the fight against HIVAIDS in the region.

He explained that with the 90:90:90 HIVAIDS strategy, whereby 2030, 90% of people living with HIVAIDS would have known their status, 90% of these clients are linked to therapy and 90% of those linked to therapy would have been virally suppressed in 12 months.

He also lamented that community stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV were also not abated.

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