900 students get tested for HIV – The Eastern Regional office of the Ghana AIDS Commission on Friday, June 23, tested 900 students as parts of efforts to achieve the 90-90-90 goal.
The ambitious target demands that by the year 2020, 9 out of every 10 people who have been living with HIV should know their status.
This, one can only know if they get tested.
It is to reach out to the population in the Eastern Region as part of the wider populace, that the office of the Commission in the region has embarked on a project dubbed the “Adolescent all in”
The project is a special initiative by the Technical Support Unit and the team of the Regional Minister to reach out to adolescents within Schools in the region.
The project is also organized in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service.
Apart from educating the students on what HIV is, and getting them tested, the project has provided a platform for students to share their “sexual and reproductive health challenges” which hitherto they could not share with anyone.
According to Golda Asante, a Technical Coordinator of the Commission in charge of the Eastern Regional Office, some students have been defiled before, and did not have anyone to talk to.
Some are s3xually active and in relationships, yet do not know their HIV status. Meanwhile many are in need of counseling which is lacking in some schools.
In educating the students, Golda Asante spent time dealing with several topics including the difference between HIV and AIDS, the modes of infection among many others.
The lessons, however, were in an age-appropriate presentation that went down to the students well.
Sharing their thoughts with Ghana Health News after the program, Ama (not her real name) said she had been in a relationship for the past two years and had not engaged in any sexual intercourse but had been k&ssing with her partner.
“I got into the relationship as a result of peer pressure and was planning to experiment s*x during this coming vacation, but after listening to the talk, I have decided not to do any such thing because I don’t want to do anything that will predispose me to the virus”
A second student aged 17 says “I have been in a relationship and my guy has been trying to let us have s*x but I don’t allow him, each time he wants to try it, I hold his hand and stop him” she continued, “now that I have heard all these, I am even thinking of ending the relationship all together”
In all, 700 students were tested by noon. Students were in long queues waiting to be tested as late as 9:00 pm. By the end of the exercise, approximately 900 students had been tested.
The team eventually had to close and set another date to continue with the testing services.
If this enthusiasm is sustained, we may be well ahead of achieving the target of the first 90 before 2020.