HIV prevalence in the Western Region has increased from 2.4 per cent in 2017 to 3.1 per cent in 2018.
Similarly, HIV prevalence in Sekondi-Takoradi has also gone up from 1.6 per cent to 3.8 per cent, above both the regional and national averages.
The Medical Director at the Effia Nkwanta Regional Hospital (ENRH), Dr Joseph Tambil, revealed the situation during the celebration of the Western Regional World AIDS Day marked in Takoradi on the theme, ‘Communities make the difference-Help ends AIDS’.
He said: “This is a cause of worry. According to the 2018 national sub-national sentinel HIV and AIDS estimates and projections, Sekondi-Takoradi and Effia Kwesimintsim Municipal Assembly ranked 7th and 19th position respectively in the top 29 districts in Ghana with the highest HIV population, highest HIV new infections and highest HIV deaths.
“As a region, we cannot rest on our oars and watch our future to be destroyed. We must come together to create the necessary awareness and educate ourselves on the modes of transmission as well as precaution that can be taken to avoid getting infected.”
Quoting HIV sentinel survey report, Dr Tambil told the gathering that recent figures on HIV prevalence in Ghana had also shown an increase from 2.1 per cent in 2017 to 2.4 per cent in 2018, and reaffirmed that HIV predominantly, was spread through unprotected sex with an infected person and mother-to-child transmission.
He indicated that the Ghana Health Service had increased testing points in the facilities to ensure that everyone got access to HIV testing services.
He said: “I believe that if we are able to intensify our approach in HIV prevention and increase the uptake of treatment services, we can reduce the prevalence in the metropolis and the region. At Effia Nkwanta Hospital, 80 per cent of 1,600 tested for HIV showed viral load suppression.”
The Deputy Regional Minster, Gifty Eugenia Kusi, described the statistics on HIV in the region as ‘fearful’, and said: “Death is a painful thing. If we can prevent it, we should do it.”
She added: “The statistics is doubling and it’s frightening. We should protect ourselves with the use of condoms. AIDS is here with us; we need also to reduce the stigma and the discrimination in our communities.”