2011 HIV Sentinel survey report reveals marginal increase of pandemic

The Median HIV prevalence rate for 2011 was 2.1 per cent, which was a marginal rise of 2.0 per cent for 2010.

Contrary to expectations, a consecutive drop was not achieved as the overall linear trend, 2011 HIV Sentinel Survey Report has revealed.

Speaking at the launch of the 2011 Sentinel Report in Accra on Monday, Dr Nii Akwei Addo, Programme Manager the National AIDS Control Programme said Central Region has replaced the Eastern Region for the first time with the highest prevalence of 4.7 per cent since the inception of the survey six years ago with the Northern Region recording 0.3 per cent.

He explained that the prevalence rate of HIV in 2011 ranged from 0.0 per cent in Adibo representing the rural  in the Northern Region to 9.6 in Cape Coast for the urban in the Central Region.

“A linear trend analysis of Ghana’s prevalence since 2000 shows a declining epidemic despite the marginal increase observed in this year’s survey; with a higher prevalence in urban sites compared in the survey,” he added.

The HIV Sentinel Survey is a cross sectional survey targeting pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in selected antenatal sites in Ghana. In all 40 sentinel sites were selected in all the 10 regions with a sample size of 19,391 pregnant women.

The objective of the survey was to provide HIV prevalence data for monitoring of the epidemic and planning as well as evaluation of HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and care activities.

Dr Addo noted that five regions; Central, Eastern, Greater Accra, Ashanti and Volta recorded an increase in HIV prevalence whilst Brong Ahafo prevalence remained the same and while the remaining four regions recorded a decrease from their 2010 figures.

Central Region recorded 4.7 per cent in 2011 as against 1.7 per cent in 2010, Eastern Region recorded 3.6 per cent in 2011 as against 3.4 per cent in 2010; Greater Accra recorded 3.2 per cent in 2011 as against 2.6 per cent in 2010, Ashanti recorded 3.1 per cent in 2011 as against 3.0 in 2010 whilst the Volta Region recorded 2.2 per cent as against 1.8 per cent.

Unfortunately, the reclining HIV prevalence in Ghana’s young population witnessed over the past few years was reversed in the 2011 survey report. Prevalence among young persons aged between 15- 24 years which was used as a proxy for new infections was 1.7 per cent as against 1.5 per cent in 2010.

Dr Addo said HIV type II shrunk further by half, leaving the type I as still the most dominant variant with 98 per cent proportion.

He described the reduction in proportion of HIV type II as good for Ante Retroviral Therapy delivery.

Again Syphilis prevalence ranged from zero per cent in Dangbe East, Bawku, Bolgatanga and Navrongo to 12 per cent in Asikuma Odoben Brakwa with the median prevalence dropping further by 48.5 per cent from 2010’s figure of 3.3 per cent to 1.7 per cent in 2011.

HIV prevalence among sexually transmitted infections  clients increased from 5.3 per cent to 7.9 per cent with the prevalence in the Kumasi site dropping whilst that in the Adabraka site increasing resulting in the increase in the national prevalence.

Dr Addo noted that though Ghana cannot be complacent in the commitment towards ensuring a record of zero per cent in all the three areas, hence the need for stakeholders to soberly reflect on the surprises in this year’s data and cautiously analyse the data to avoid pitfalls in planning and decision making.

He implored stakeholders to review the wealth of information in relation to current intervention priorities towards ensuring universal access to comprehensive HIV and AIDS services as enshrined in Ghana’s Strategic Plan for the next five years.

Source: GNA

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