Former President John Dramani Mahama has urged Ghanaians, particularly the youth, to get tested for HIV/AIDS.

According to him, the virus is not the death sentence it used to be; thus, people should get tested to know their status and seek early treatment if infected.

Contracting AIDS is not a death sentence, get tested – Mahama

He said this to mark World AIDS Day, which is observed on the 1st of December annually.

Mr Mahama, who took to his Facebook wall to share his goodwill message, bemoaned the seeming diversion of attention from the AIDS pandemic, which has been raging for more than a decade to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The threat of the novel coronavirus pandemic and its latest variant, omicron, should not divert our minds from the rather insidious dangers posed by HIV/AIDS. While we battle this new pandemic, the HIV/AIDS pandemic is quietly but alarmingly eating away Africa’s mainly youthful and productive population,” he said.

“It is not a proud record that since the onset of the disease three decades ago, about two-thirds of the millions of infected persons worldwide have been Africans – with almost half of our affected brothers and sisters, in millions, dying from the disease,” he added.

He further expressed worry at the spike in teenage pregnancies, adding that more young people are having unprotected sex when they shouldn’t.

“On the occasion of #WorldAidsDay, as we remember those who have horribly succumbed to the disease, let us make a conscious effort to defeat this pandemic by staying faithful and committed to our chosen partners, using protection or abstinence. Furthermore, we must intensify education on the menace of HIV/AIDS,” he urged.

“We need our young people alive and healthy to help steer the affairs of our nation and not to be languishing on hospital beds,” the former President said.