Greater Accra ranks second in national HIV prevalence

AIDSThe Greater Accra Region ranks second on Ghana’s Regional HIV/AIDS prevalence table with a rate of 3.1 per cent.

The prevalence rate has, however, remained stable and below five per cent over the past five years, Ms Rita Afriyie, Technical Coordination Consultant Ghana Aids Commission (GAC), Technical Support Unit, Regional Coordinating Council, said on Tuesday.

Ms Afriyie speaking at the 2015 World Aids Day Greater Accra Regional durbar in Tema, said this gloomy picture about HIV/AIDS in the Region must engage the attention and cooperation of all to address the challenges associated with the disease.

This year’s celebration in Ghana is on the theme:”Fast Track: Meeting the health needs of children towards an HIV-free generation”.

She said the HIV epidemic in the Region was a generalised one with pockets of high prevalence among the most-at risk population.

They include homosexuals, female sex workers, at- risk- youth (12-24 years), uniform service and transport workers, and vulnerable groups such as female head porters and slums dwellers.

Ms Afriyie said the major determinants of the increase in the prevalence rate as largely socio-cultural and economic factors coupled with poor sanitation.

She said even though in 2014, the Greater Accra Region achieved 73 per cent (118,472) of its target coverage of 161,914 for HIV testing of pregnant women, it was time to step up efforts to seal all gaps in its prevention and treatment for children.

Ghana, she stated, would start the process to ensure that 90 per cent of all persons living with HIV  to know their status, 90 per cent of those who know their status were put on antiretroviral medicines.

Mr Isaac Ashai Odamtten, Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, in a welcome speech read on his behalf, stated that the 2014 HIV Sentinel Survey Report indicated that Tema has a 2.6 per cent prevalence rate in 2014.

Mr Odamtten said the rate has been fluctuating over the past five years as Tema recorded 2.8 in 2010, 2.2 in 2011, 3.6 and 2.8 in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

To help reduce the rate, the TMA, he said, embarked on sensitization programmes in the media, religious groupings and at public meetings in addition to health screenings.

Mr Raymond Ahorlu, Greater Accra Chairperson of Network of Persons Living with HIV and Aids (Nap+Ghana), asked the public to show love to people living with disease instead of stigmatising them.

Mr Ahorlu said stigmatising them deters them from revealing their status to their loved ones as well as refraining from accessing health care.

Mr Isaac Nii Djanmah Vanderpuye, Deputy Greater Accra Regional Minister, called on the youth not to experiment with sex but rather abstain from all sexual activities.

He reminded the elderly and married to be faithful to their partners and make use of condoms.

He also congratulated stakeholders for making significant achievements in the mother to child prevention and urged all to test voluntarily for the disease noting that being HIV positive is not a death warrant.

The TMA presented GH¢2,000 to People Living With HIV AIDS.

Source: GNA

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