By Maxwell Nkansah *
An estimated 2,128 new HIV infections have been recorded in the Eastern region, according to the Ghana AIDS Commission. The situation has been attributed to reckless and risky sexual behaviors including unprotected sexual intercourse involving young men and women in the region.
Already, People living with HIV in Eastern Region of Ghana are 47, 8166, but only 30,538 are accessing the antiretroviral drug. The Acting Eastern Regional Technical Coordinator of the Technical Unit of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Ebenezer Appiah Agyekum Abrokwah said,
“We are seeing an increase in prevalence in even Eastern region of Ghana. We are getting more people tested and we are getting more HIV cases. Our estimated new infections are about 2000. We know that about 80% of HIV transmission is through unprotected sex with an infected person so basically, the idea or arrows point to unprotected sex.
According to her, young people are engaging in risky sexual behavior and they are seeing that there is a lot more exposure of young people to a lot of sexually suggestive stuff like the contents they see on TV, contents they are watching on the internet, lifestyle that is being advocated out there by the older population so they see a lot of young women and young men engaging in risky sexual behaviour”
Ebenezer Appiah Agyekum -Abrokwa also bemoaned that, many of these people who tested positive have refused to access antiretroviral drugs for management of the virus.
Another thing is that people are not going for treatment after they test positive. so in places where there is high rural Communities where access to health centres is a bit difficult you realize that people are not able to easily go to the hospital to access treatment, now we are told that health has been decentralized so even health centres and CHPS are always giving antiretroviral so when people are not accessing it then they are still in denial about their status or maybe their religious beliefs do not allow them to access the drug
This was revealed during the inauguration of the Upper Manya Krobo District HIV/AIDS Advocacy Committee at Asesewa.
A committee has been set and the committee aimed is to provide advocacy for HIV and AIDS prevention and control and fostering effective coordination among stakeholders towards the reduction of the menace in the district.
As of last year, people living with HIV in the Upper Manya Krobo district were two thousand and eighty- one (2081) with new infections being eighty-seven (87).
The acting Eastern Regional Technical Coordinator of the Technical Unit of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Ebenezer Appiah Agyekum Abrokwah charged the committee to engage local information centres to help disseminate information on HIV and AIDS regularly to educate the populace on the disease. He said the committee should also ensure that Alert Clubs in schools are revamped and advocacy meetings with local council of churches and traditional authorities are held. He also tasked the committee to follow up on persons who test positive for HIV to encourage them to take the anti-retroviral drugs.
The Chairman of the Committee, Joe Sam who is also the DCE for the area said the formation of the committee is timely. He was optimistic that the committee will do everything possible to change the trend in the district.
*Original report from Kojo Ansah