When COVID-19 took the world off guard in 2020, all other diseases and infections, including the once-dreaded HIV took a secondary stage.

Prevention and treatment of COVID-19 was so much a worry that one’s preoccupation and concentration during the period were the wearing of face masks, washing or sanitising of hands, general personal hygiene and building up one’s immune system. Those took centre stage.

We almost downplayed the once-upon-a-time caution to desist from sharing something as simple as nail clippers, blades or scissors at the salon or barber’s shops. We went back to our old ways, thinking perhaps that HIV was dead and gone.

Then one got a rude awakening sometime last December from a gathering of HIV experts in Zimbabwe that “AIDS is not over”. It is still lurking around.

The gathering is said to have been for the largest International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Africa. It was organised by the Society for AIDS in Africa.

It is well and good for the world to be reminded that AIDS is still in our midst, not yet done with us.  Surprising? Not quite because we seem to have gone quiet on the public education one used to see and hear about particularly in the media, about HIV-AIDS.


Seemingly, the statistics which used to be shared to create greater awareness are no longer coming through.

And so in preparing for this article, I chanced on some information backed by statistics about our country’s position as far as HIV-AIDS is concerned. The comparable information created a bit of a worry, especially learning that our HIV prevalence rate in Ghana as of 2022 stands between 1.7 and 1.8 per cent among adults.

The last one knew, our prevalence rate was one percent and those were the days when new infections in the country dropped by about 38 percent. Sadly, in 2022 alone, a year that the world was turning the corner with COVID-19, it was estimated that 16,574 new HIV infections were recorded in the country.  Definitely, therefore, HIV is still around with its prevalence said to be highest in the Eastern Region and lowest in the Northern Regions.

Per the information available, the country currently has 354,927 people living with HIV. Out of this number, 115,235 are males while we have 239,692, twice as many, who are females.

The good news however is that between 70 to 80 percent of individuals living with HIV are said to be aware of their status. The good news because once they know their status, they are likely to access treatment and take the necessary precautions not to needlessly infect others.

The question therefore is, with these statistics in mind, are we likely to beat the global target of ending HIV by 2030?


What the global target probably means is that the slackness in our education and awareness creation must be reawakened and paced up. As optimistic as I am, I believe that Ghana can achieve its global target if we go back to the pace we set ourselves a few years back.

In those days, HIV-AIDS was intensely a community issue. The campaigns mobilised us. Churches, workplaces, communities, and homes, all got involved with intense education on best practices and protection.

At workplaces, some organisations put in place active peer groups trained to share information and literature on HIV.  They shared practical knowledge ranging from the proper wearing of condoms to desisting from using shared toothbrushes, needles, scissors and shavers for example.


A bolder step was however the move to get people living with the disease, especially those who had gone into hiding for fear of stigmatisation, to come out to receive the necessary support. A massive education on stigmatisation also meant conscientising the public against discrimination towards sufferers.

But above all, there was active education to also encourage people to go and get tested to know their status and get help where needed.

That is how far the intensive education and encouragement on HIV-AIDS carried us, registering at a certain stage, just a one per cent prevalence rate.

Did we slip backwards with sustained awareness and education?  Maybe we did, taking a cue from what the gathering of HIV experts is telling us.  In their candid verdict, HIV is not over.

Ghana can get back on track and work assiduously to achieve the global target of ending HIV by 2030. It is achievable.

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