Ghana has made significant progress in reducing its number of HIV cases over the years, however analysis from 2014 shows that a significant number of new infections (43%) occur among key populations (KP), including men who have sex with men, female sex workers, transgender individuals and their partners. There is a strong need to improve KP’s access to care since Ghana has been facing numerous challenges in providing tailored HIV screening to these populations. This is due to weak referral linkages, inadequate KP-friendly clinical services and high levels of stigma and discrimination among health staff and community members which prevent KP from receiving the care they require.
In order to improve the capacity of the Government of Ghana and its partners to provide quality and comprehensive HIV services for KP and people living with HIV (PLHIV), the USAID Strengthening the Continuum of Care project commenced in 2016—led by John Snow, Inc. in partnership with the Population Council. Using a sustainable country-owned and led approach, the project will improve key populations’ access to and use of HIV services while working toward reducing stigma and discrimination in health settings for KP and PLHIV. Strengthening the Care Continuum will work alongside civil society organizations to strengthen their abilities to develop, manage and execute innovative HIV projects that are targeted to serve key populations. This will be achieved by using an integrated approach to address the needs of key populations in Ghana. By establishing public-private partnerships for HIV/AIDS services with organizations across the continuum of care, the project will harness the expertise, core competencies and business resources of non-traditional actors to develop creative joint solutions to improve HIV services for KP. Guided by Ghanaian leadership and members of the key population community, the project will help the government better manage each stage of the treatment cascade (HIV testing and diagnosis; getting and staying in medical care; treatment initiation; and achieving viral suppression) to ensure clinics and community services are welcoming to and understanding of key populations.