People living with HIV urged to continue treatment or die

| Updated Aug 30, 2017 at 4:00am



People living with HIV/AIDS who are on antiretroviral treatment have been urged not to discontinue treatment if they have been diagnosed of having undetectable condition.

Undetectable condition is a situation where people on treatment for a long time tend to have viral load suppression where the disease may not be detected by the routine test kits. This according to experts does not mean one is cured of the disease.

To this end, people living with the disease are reminded not to be deceived by some herbalists who claim to have herbal concoctions that cure AIDS.

These came up at a workshop on HIV/AIDS Reporting organized by the African Centre for Development Reporting with Sponsorship from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR for health journalists in Accra.

Globally HIV-AIDS has no known cure. However available medications especially the antiretroviral drugs have proven to be potent treatments for persons living with the disease.

With the Antiretroviral treatment, patients are able to live longer under a sustained management regime.

Some traditional medicine practitioners have over the years laid claim to some unconfirmed cure of persons living with the disease.

This, according to the Ghana AIDS Commission has been a bane to the fight against the spread of the disease as people are deceived into abandoning treatment after taking some herbal concoctions.

Cosmos OheneAdjei, the Acting Director of Technical Services at the Ghana AIDS Commission said if one is HIV positive and he or she fails to take the antiretroviral drug within a very short time the viruses will multiple such that they may not respond to treatment leading to death.

He therefore advised Persons living with the disease to continue taking their medication even if they have undetectable condition where the testing kids cannot identify the virus in their blood, adding that the virus may be hiding in other parts of the body if they cannot be traced in the blood.

The Workshop was to equip Health reporters with new skills and facts about HIV/AIDS to enhance effective and result driven reportage.

The Deputy Director of the African Centre for Development Reporting KumahDrah emphasized the need for Journalists to adopt innovative ways of telling the HIV/AIDS stories.

He challenged the traditional media practitioners to employ social media in telling the HIV/AIDS stories alongside their traditional platforms to help fight against the spread of the disease.

The US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR is an initiative that helps to save the lives of those suffering from HIV/AIDS around the World. It helps to prevent the spread of HIV and to support people living with the disease. Since its inception in Ghana in 2007, more than $132 million has been invested in the country to help control the disease.

DzidEnyonam Kwame, a Media Specialist with PEPFAR at the US Embassy said currently the Campaign is being driven by the UN Goal of “90-90-90” which targets 90 percent testing for all citizens, 90 percent treatment for all persons living with the disease and 90 percent of people living with the disease should have viral load suppression. “The media needs to help drum home the message to citizens that HIV-AIDS is not gone completely. It is still with us and all of us are still at risk”. She urged Ghanaians to come together to ensure an AIDS free generation by 2030.

As at December 2016, 290 thousand Ghanaians are living with HIV and AIDS. Out of the number 104 thousand are on treatment at the 245 Antiretroviral Treatment sites across the Country. Take a listen to the audio report.

By Correspondent Dominic Hlordzi