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National AIDS Control Programme releases 2016 HIV sentinel report

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The National AIDS Control Programme has released the 2016 HIV sentinel survey report stating current prevalence rate of the viral disease and making projections for the future.

The report shows an increase in prevalence rate among pregnant women – representing a second consecutive time of rising incidence among the Ghanaian pregnant women.

The HIV sentinel survey is a cross sectional survey targeting pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in selected areas in the country.

In the last 11 years, health officials say, the HIV Sentinel Survey data have been used as the primary data source for the National HIV and AIDS estimates.

The HIV prevalence for 2016 was 2.4 per cent which represents a second consecutive upsurge from the 2014 prevalence of 1.6 per cent and 1.8 per cent in 2015.

The Volta and Brong Ahafo Regions recorded the highest prevalence rate of 2.7 per cent while the Northern Region registered the lowest, recording 0.7 per cent.

HIV prevalence was higher in urban areas (2.5 per cent) than rural (1.9 per cent) while the young population (15-24 years), a proxy for new infections remained unchanged at 1.1 per cent.

Mrs Tina Mensah, the Deputy Health Minister, said making information of disease control available and health policy development was a major priority of government.

She said the Survey had, since its inception, enabled the Ministry to monitor trends of the disease in the country and provided useful information for policy direction and interventions to address the HIV epidemic.

“Being one of the 35 United Nations AIDS fast-track countries, there is a tremendous expectation of Ghana to demonstrate leadership in the global efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030,” she said.

Mrs Mensah urged Ghanaians to renew their passion and effort to cut down new infections since the disease remained a threat to the country’s socio-economic aspirations.

“We must halt mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the shortest possible time through the delivery of sustained anti-retroviral therapy whilst minimising Sexually Transmitted Infections amongst young people,” she said. 

The Ghana Health Service and partner organisations led by the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund were called upon to ensure speedy and successful submission of a joint HIV/TB concept note for new funding to cover 2018-2020.

Source: GNA

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