National AIDS Research conference slated for May 8

The Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has launched the 2018 National HIV and AIDS Research Conference (NHARCON) in Accra.

The conference, which will be held from Tuesday, May 8, 2018 to Thursday, May 11, 2018 on the theme, “Ending AIDS — Rethinking practices for maximum impact”, will provide a platform for the exchange of local and global research findings and best practices towards achieving epidemic control in the country.

The 2018 conference, the fourth to be organised by the GAC every four years, will also garner ideas to support the implementation of the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan (NSP) 2016 to 2020.

Launch

The Chairperson of the NHARCON Scientific Committee, Professor Isabella Quakyi, who launched the conference, said it would be organised jointly by international and local researchers, programme managers, policy makers and other stakeholders.

She said it would help to share scientific evidence, lessons and best practices with a view to addressing some of the challenges of national HIV and AIDS response.

She added that the conference would serve as an opportunity for reviewing the collective actions of researchers and stakeholders in the national HIV and AIDS response and set an agenda for the future.

Collective efforts

“Rethinking practices for maximum impact will require collective and country-led efforts to scale up HIV prevention and treatment services as part of fast-tracking a comprehensive response to meet global and national targets and commitments to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030,” Prof. Quakyi added.

She said the country must rethink and be ready to change service delivery models that were not working and also scale up best practices to achieve the maximum impact desired.

She also called for innovative ways of generating and mobilising adequate resources to fill the financial gaps, while addressing stigma and discrimination against People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) at health facilities.

Generalised HIV epidemic

The Director General of the GAC, Dr Mokowa Blay Adu-Gyamfi, said Ghana was classified as having a generalised HIV epidemic with the Volta, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Ashanti, Western and Upper West regions having prevalence higher than the national prevalence level of 2.4 per cent.

She said: “Our efforts to reduce new infections within the general population cannot succeed without provision of high-impact HIV prevention services to key populations in the country,” saying that the commission would continue to scale up targeted HIV prevention services to those populations.

 

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