The Technical support Unit of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) in the Eastern Region tested 9,680 people to know their HIV status during the just ended Easter festivities on the Kwahu ridge.
This comprised 5,556 males and 4,124 females out of which 464 people also comprising 217 males and 247 females tested during the pre-Easter HIV Testing Services (HTS) at Linda Dor Restaurant at Bunso.
About 30 HTS sites were set up at strategic locations at 11 towns on the Kwahu ridge and offered counselling and testing services while education on the use of both female and male condoms and distribution was also intensified through the three-day period.
Eastern Region is one of the regions heavily affected by HIV and the AIDS epidemic in Ghana and over the past years consistently recorded the highest HIV prevalence, however Behaviour Change Communication activities and other testing services had gone down drastically.
The celebration of Easter in Kwahu has assumed an international dimension for the past 10 years, due to the paragliding competition patronised by many foreigners and Ghanaians as well and has been characterised by activities such as street jams, discos, beauty pageants and many other socialisation activities.
Briefing the GNA, Ms Golda Asante, the Eastern Regional Director of the GAC, observed that festive and socio-cultural activities were well patronised in the region and many people engaged in risky sexual behaviour during such periods which could expose them to HIV.
She said in order to ensure that the first 90 of the agenda 90-90-90 was completely achieved, they had adopted the strategy to integrate HIV interventions in all such festivities such as Odwira, Ngmayem, Kloyosikplemi and others including the Eastern paragliding festivals to reach out to people.
According to Ms Asante, in line with the ‘test and treat’ policy, all those who tested positive would be connected to care and treatment immediately adding that logistics and funds had been made available for communication and follow-ups to ensure that people had been rolled onto care.
She explained that testing without providing the necessary care and treatment was wasteful especially in the face of the agenda 90-90-90 which sought to get 90 per cent of the population tested, 90 per cent out those tested rolled onto care and treatment and subsequently reducing the viral loads of all careers on treatment by 90 per cent by 2020.
By Bertha Badu-Agyei, GNA