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Are you not afraid of HIV? – Berla Mundi asks Ghanaians engaged in unprotected sex with multiple partners

Renowned Ghanaian media personality Berla Mundi has sparked an important conversation about the rising cases of HIV in the country, emphasizing the need for personal responsibility in sexual health.

In a thought-provoking post on the social media platform X, Berla questioned why many young people in Ghana continue to engage in unprotected sex despite the known risks of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS.

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“Are you not afraid of contracting HIV/AIDS and other STDs?” Berla quizzed, addressing the alarming trend of multiple sexual partners without the use of condoms.

Her post received various responses, but one in particular stood out. A user suggested, perhaps humorously, that Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia should innovate a solution through the Ghana Card system to alert partners of infidelity. The comment appeared to mock the Vice President’s push for digitalization within the government.

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“Yo, to curb this menace, I think Bawumia should come up with an innovation that would only allow one to have one partner at a time. Your Ghana Card would be linked to your partner’s, and as soon as you try to have sex with another, a notification would be sent to your partner,” the user wrote.

Berla Mundi’s response was direct and emphasized personal accountability. She reminded the user that it is not the responsibility of the Vice President to prevent individuals from engaging in unprotected sex. Instead, she stressed that it is up to each person to use common sense and prioritize their own health.

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“Unrealistic. It’s not the VP’s job to stop you from having unprotected sex. You must have common sense and the desire to protect your own life,” Berla replied.

Her remarks highlight the crucial role of individual responsibility in the fight against HIV/AIDS and other STDs.

Berla Mundi’s call for self-protection and sensible behavior serves as a timely reminder for Ghanaians to be more mindful of their sexual health practices, particularly in light of the rising HIV cases in the country.

Ghana is experiencing an average of 50 new HIV infections daily, with the majority of cases occurring among individuals aged 15 to 49, according to the Ghana AIDS Commission.

This economically active population group represents a significant portion of new infections. The commission released these figures during the unveiling of the 2023 national and sub-national HIV and AIDS estimates and projections.

The data also revealed that out of the 334,095 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country, 17,550 were children below the age of 15. Additionally, there were 17,774 new HIV infections, with 1,698 being children below 15 years and 16,076 representing adults above 15 years.

While there has been a decline in new infections, AIDS deaths, and HIV prevalence, the progress is not sufficient to meet the set goals and targets.

During a media engagement to disseminate the results and discuss their implications, the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, emphasized the need for more efforts to achieve the expected targets.

The forum, attended by media professionals and stakeholders in the HIV response sector, highlighted regional and district-level variations in prevalence and new infections, with Greater Accra, Ashanti, and Eastern regions recording the highest numbers of persons living with HIV.

Challenges identified by the commission include data capture, validation, and quality issues, which need to be addressed urgently. Dr. Atuahene acknowledged the concern over continued mother-to-child transmission, attributing it to gaps in the healthcare system and calling for collective efforts to address the issue.

Stakeholders were urged to work together to achieve the 95-95 targets by the end of 2025 and 98-98 by the end of 2030.

The commission acknowledged the support of stakeholders, including the National AIDS and STI Control Programme, Ghana Health Service, UNAIDS, World Health Organisation, and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), in generating the data.

UNAIDS Country Director Hector Sucilla Perez emphasized the importance of understanding the epidemic and using data for action to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

Ms. Perez highlighted the critical role of the media in advocating for the needs of persons living with HIV and improving societal enablers to create an enabling environment.

The Country Director of the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), Tony Ao, commended Ghana’s efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS and its progress towards achieving high-quality data to guide the national response.

He encouraged stakeholders to use the data judiciously, with technical guidance from experts, to ensure meaningful interpretation and application.

The CDC reiterated its commitment to supporting Ghana’s national AIDS response and praised the country’s progress towards ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

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