HIV Treatment Restores One Woman’s Health in Ghana

March 30th, 2022 | Story


“All hope was lost when I started walking with a stick at the age of 50 due to an unknown sickness,” Abena, a 71-year old Ghanaian living with HIV said. “Doctors, pastors, traditional healers, and soothsayers tried to diagnose me but failed. Some even said my condition was spiritual or a curse and left me to my faith.”

Abena, who lives in Ghana’s Asutifi North District of the Ahafo Region, went 21 years without knowing what was wrong. With more than 300,000 people living with HIV in Ghana, scaling up testing and treatment is one of the government’s priorities for reducing transmission. The JSI-implemented USAID Strengthening the Care Continuum Project regularly organizes events to educate people on HIV prevention and offer testing and links to treatment services.

Between October 2021 and February 2022, the Care Continuum project, through the Asutifi North Hope for Future Generations team, tested 325 of the 446 people who were screened in the Ahafo Region. Of the 325 people, 21, including Abena, tested positive and were initiated on antiretroviral therapy. “When I was tested for HIV on November 8, 2021 in my house and the result was positive, I was given medicine and within the third week of taking it, I threw my stick away. I feel young and stronger than when I was 50. All thanks to this agyenkwa (life-saving project),” she said.

The Care Continuum project works with institutions such as Ghana Health Service, Ghana AIDS Commission, the National AIDS/STI Control Program, and civil society organizations to strengthen Ghana’s ability to develop and manage HIV projects and reach epidemic control. The project works closely with local partners and the government to ensure comprehensive access to high-quality services for people living with HIV and to reduce stigma and discrimination against them in health settings.

Through Care Continuum and its partners, more than 4,000 people in Ahafo, 6,000 in Western North, and 19,000 in Western Regions are on treatment. Overall, the project and partners have helped more than 30,000 people get on HIV treatment.

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