People who cohabitate have a high Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) prevalence rate of 3.5 per cent, Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programmes Manager, National AIDS/STI Control Programme has disclosed. Dr. Ayisi Addo explained that a prevalence rate represented the number of cases existing among that population at a point or period in time.
Speaking at the seventh stakeholder engagement and workers’ appreciation seminar organized by the Ghana News Agency, Tema Regional office, he said pregnant women who were cohabiting may have a higher risk of HIV transmission because sexual episodes were often casual and ties in with the fact that people who have multiple partners have a higher risk of getting HIV.
He further disclosed that while persons who were single had 3.1 per cent HIV prevalence rate, it was two per cent among married people, an indication that single people were associated with a higher risk of contracting the virus than being in a committed marriage.
Touching on the 2020 Annual HIV Sentinel Survey carried out on pregnant women over a period of 12 weeks through ante natal clinics (ANC), he said there was a two per cent prevalence among expectant mothers which was similar to the rate for the previous years.
He added that the prevalence in the general population stood at 1.7 per cent, saying the figures showed that HIV was still established in the southern part of Ghana explaining that it was so because of the urbanization of those areas.
Dr. Ayisi Addo said such urban areas have a lot of people engaging in high-risk behaviours, and interactions such as men having sex with men who have a high prevalence rate of 18 per cent.
He said the survey revealed that there was a higher risk of infection among women who have increasing number of pregnancies as transmission could occur through the birth process, among others.
He added that now people have the confidence to give birth to more children even when tested positive due to the strong Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission programme.
Dr Ayisi Addo explained that even though HIV in itself suppresses fertility when one is not on treatment, those being treated experience a restoration of their immune system and fertility chances, and through the prevention-from-mother-to-child interventions, they give birth to negative babies.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Tema Regional Manager for the Ghana News Agency welcoming resource persons to the seminar, said modern journalism practices demanded a comprehensive dynamic approach to issues which affected society, through which the media provided a platform for proactive engagement and exchange of ideas towards shaping national development.
He added that, the operations of GNA-Tema now hinged more towards advocacy journalism, which focused on providing a platform for citizens to share key information needed to make the best possible decisions about national issues, community development, protection of society and enhance governance.
The GNA Tema Regional Manager noted that media practitioners were confused whether to hold on to the traditional media professionalism or get on board the fast-track social media train with its baggage.
He said in both ways, the fact remains that the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and public accountability, could not be sacrificed on the altar of speed or speculative journalism.
Mr Ameyibor added that, the acquisition of newsworthy information and its subsequent dissemination to the public have change, hence there was the need for the Ghanaian media landscape to wake up to the global wind of change.
He said it was therefore essential for the media to champion national discussion and ensure that they carried everyone along the discourse, including those in the marketplace, rural areas, the communities.