Kumasi beats Obuasi in HIV prevalence

The Kumasi Metropolis has topped the Ashanti regional HIV prevalence rate, taking over from the mining town of Obuasi, which has over the years, been topping the region.

The metropolis’ prevalence rate moved from 2.8 percent in 2015 to 3.4 percent in 2016, thus making Kumasi, the third town in the country with high HIV prevalence rate.

The Ashanti Regional Technical Coordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Ms Olivia Graham, who made the disclosure in an interview with OTECNEWS’ Ebenezer Amankwah on Friday December 1, 2017, in Kumasi, said even though the HIV prevalence rate  in the region keeps dropping, that does not call for celebration because there are still many cases unreported both in the region and in parts of the country as a whole.

HIV prevalence rate in the Ashanti Region has for three consecutive years recorded drops from 3.2 percent in 2013 to 2.8 percent in 2014 and 2.7 percent in 2015 and  2.6 percent 2016.

Ghana, on Friday, December 1, 2017, joined the rest of the globe to mark this year’s World AIDS Day (WAD), under the local theme: “The Right to Health: Know Your HIV Status, Seek Early Treatment.”

World AIDS Day is marked annually to raise awareness on the AIDS epidemic, its impact on persons infected and affected and also remember those who have died from the epidemic.

The global theme for the WAD 2017: “My Health, My Right” focuses on the right to health and explores the challenges people around the world face in exercising their rights.

Ms Olivia Graham said in spite of the reduction in the spread of HIV, the Ashanti Region remained the second highest in the country after the Eastern Region, which was leading with a rate of 6.2 percent.

He stressed that thirty-five people, mostly women, died of HIV/AIDS last year in the Offinso Municipality of the Ashanti Region. The deaths were among 474 cases of HIV/AIDS recorded in the Municipality by the Offinso Municipal Director of Health Service.

Ms Olivia Graham attributed the rise in the prevalence rate in the region to the low condom use and risky lifestyles by the people.

She said other factors such as the elaborate funerals and the fact that the town has high commercial activities and hosts a lot of people.

She said the region has been using four sentinel sites for the region over the years and these are Obuasi, Kumasi, Mampong and Amansie West.

Awareness creation

She said the Ashanti Regional HIV Management Team relied more on the radio as a means of educating and creating awareness among the people. He said the team also visited mosques, churches and societal gatherings.

Ms Olivia Graham noted that there were currently 16,000 HIV infected persons on medication in the region and that the number was expected to increase to 20,000 in the coming years if care was not taken.

Ashanti Regional Technical Coordinator said there were enough drugs in stock now, but wished there was a stockpile that could last for three months instead of the current one month.

Source: Amankwah


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