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Ghana's HIV epidemic and PEPFAR's contribution towards epidemic control

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      The aim of this review was to summarize the data on HIV/AIDS epidemiology and affected populations in Ghana and to describe the United States President's Emergency Plan for Emergency Relief's (PEPFAR) response to the epidemic.


      We conducted a literature review focusing on PEPFAR's contribution to the HIV response in Ghana. Additionally, we summarized the epidemiology of HIV. We searched both peer-reviewed and grey literature.




      Overall, HIV prevalence in Ghana is 1.6% with regional variation. Key populations (KPs) are disproportionately affected by HIV in the country. FSW and their clients, and MSM, account for 28% of all new infections. PEPFAR provides technical assistance (TA) to Ghana to maximize the quality, coverage and impact of the national HIV/AIDS response. To ensure adequate supply of antiretrovirals (ARVs), in 2016–2017, PEPFAR invested $23.7 million as a onetime supplemental funding to support Ghana's ARV treatment program. In addition, the National AIDS Control Programme in collaboration with PEPFAR is implementing a scale up of viral load testing. PEPFAR is also implementing a comprehensive package of prevention services in five regions to help reach MSM and FSW and to expand HIV testing services for KPs.


      Ghana is making changes at both policy and program level in the fight against HIV/AIDS and is working towards achieving the UNAIDS' 90-90-90 targets. PEPFAR is providing TA to ensure these goals can be achieved.


      This manuscript has been supported by the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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      Key populations and human rights in the context of HIV services rendition in Ghana

      Background In line with its half century old penal code, Ghana currently criminalizes and penalizes behaviors of some key populations – populations deemed to be at higher risk of acquiring or transmitting Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Men who have sex with men (MSM), and sex workers (SWs) fit into this categorization. This paper provides an analysis of how enactment and implementation of rights-limiting laws not only limit rights, but also amplify risk and vulnerability to HIV in key and general populations. The paper derives from a project that assessed the ethics sensitivity of key documents guiding Ghana’s response to its HIV epidemic. Assessment was guided by leading frameworks from public health ethics, and relevant articles from the international bill of rights. Discussion Ghana’s response to her HIV epidemic does not adequately address the rights and needs of key populations. Even though the national response has achieved some public health successes, palpable efforts to address rights issues remain nascent. Ghana’s guiding documents for HIV response include no advocacy for decriminalization, depenalization or harm reduction approaches for these key populations. The impact of rights-restricting codes on the nation’s HIV epidemic is real: criminalization impedes key populations’ access to HIV prevention and treatment services. Given that they are bridging populations, whatever affects the Ghanaian key populations directly, affects the general population indirectly. Summary The right to the highest attainable standard of health, without qualification, is generally acknowledged as a fundamental human right. Unfortunately, this right currently eludes the Ghanaian SW and MSM. The paper endorses decriminalization as a means of promoting this right. In the face of opposition to decriminalization, the paper proposes specific harm reduction strategies as approaches to promote health and uplift the diminished rights of key populations. Thus the authors call on Ghana to remove impediments to public health services provision to these populations. Doing so will require political will and sufficient planning toward prioritizing HIV prevention, care and treatment programming for key populations.
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        The United States President's emergency plan for AIDS relief. Partnering to achieve epidemic control in Ghana


          Author and article information

          [1 ]Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
          [2 ]Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Accra, Ghana
          Author notes
          Corresponding author: Dr. Hammad Ali yvw4@

          Conflict of interest: None declared

          Ghana Med J
          Ghana Med J
          Ghana Medical Journal
          Ghana Medical Association
          March 2019
          : 53
          : 1
          : 59-62
          6527824 jGMJ.v53.i1.pg59 10.4314/gmj.v53i1.9
          Copyright © The Author(s)

          This is an Open Access article under the CC BY license.

          Special Article

          hiv, epidemic, ghana, pepfar


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