HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Upper East drops HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the Upper East Region has seen a remarkable drop from 2.4 per cent in 2010 to 1.5 per cent in 2011.

Navrongo maintained a consistency rate of 2.2 per cent in 2010 and 2011, whiles the Bawku sentinel site recorded 1.0 per cent and Builsa 0.6 per cent.

This was revealed at a results dissemination of sentinel survey conducted in 2011 by the national AIDS/STI control programme of the Ghana Health Service and presented on Wednesday in Bolgatanga by the Regional Health Directorate.

The survey indicated that cape Coast replaced Eastern Region as the area with the highest rate, recording a rise from 4.7 per cent in 2010 to 9.6 per cent  in 2011. It was followed by Agomanya and Obuasi with Nalerigu recording 0.2 per cent.

The survey also indicated that 98 per cent of all HIV positive samples analyzed for the year 2011 nationwide had high prevalence of HIV type 1 subtype cases.

The result was disseminated to stakeholders to determine the HIV and Syphilis prevalence among Antenatal Care (ANC) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) clients, monitor the trends in HIV and Syphilis prevalence among ANC and STI clients sentinel sites and provide data for estimation and projection of HIV prevalence in the Ghanaian population.

Dr John Koku Awoonor- Williams, Regional Director of Health Services who welcomed stakeholders said the 2010 results which put the Bolgatanga Municipality at a high rate of 3.8 per cent above the national average of 1.5 became a source of worry to all in  the region.

As a result, he said stakeholders did not relent in their efforts to ensure that ensuing years saw a reduction in the trend.

He said the 2011 survey had seen a remarkable decrease in the prevalence rate in all the sites which had culminated in the prevalence rate of 1.5 in the region.

Mr. Samuel Angyongdem, Regional HIV Coordinator who presented the results, said the Upper East Region constituted a sentinel population of 2,000 with samples of four designated sites and one from a rural community.

He said the 2011 surveillance survey targeted women attending antenatal clinics selected throughout the country in selected sentinel sites on the premise that the prevalence of HIV among women was a proxy indicator of spread of infection among the populace.

He however expressed the worry that the prevalence rate increased among ages between 20 to 24 years.

Stakeholders suggested that more health activities should be targeted at the schools since most of the young ones were still in school.

They were also of the view that the Regional Directorate of Health should share skills with other regions that were performing well so as to adopt techniques to improve the situation further.

On the issue of stigmatization, stakeholders held the view that it would require concerted efforts to tackle the phenomenon successfully.

Source: GNA

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