Forty-six Ghanaians contract the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) on a daily basis, according to a report by the Ghana Aids Commission.
Per reports, 62 new infections were recorded daily five years ago and 52 new infections recorded daily three years ago.
The worrying rate of HIV in Ghana was highlighted during the launch of the National HIV Self Testing Programme on Wednesday, July 19, 2023.
Speaking at the event, the Mayor of Accra, Elizabeth Sackey, indicated that the estimated national adult HIV prevalence stands at 1.66 percent.
Per information from the Ghana Aids Commission, a total of 354,927 individuals are living with the virus. The total figure comprises 330,250 adults and 24,712 children.
It is reported Greater Accra Region is a major hotspot for HIV contraction in the country and according to Madam Elizabeth Sackey, Accra Metropolis has the highest number of people living with HIV with a total of 8,112.
Engaging the media, Director General of the Ghana Aids Commission, Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, mentioned that HIV contraction has a positive correlation with urbanization.
Urbanization refers to the process by which an increasing proportion of a country’s population moves from rural areas to cities and towns, leading to the growth and expansion of urban areas.
“The large urban centres have a higher concentration of HIV population in this country,” Dr Atuahene noted.
Accra, Kumasi and Takoradi, he said, are among the urban centers. Their HIV prevalence is much higher than the national figure, he added.
He therefore entreated the leadership of the country “to look at urbanization.”
“Despite advancements in prevention, treatment and care, the high number of new infections hampers the progress we have made thus far. This situation calls for urgent action to prevent further transmission, provide treatment for those living with HIV and ensure equitable access to healthcare services,” Dr Atuahene said.
In his submission, the Director General of the Ghana Aids Commission bemoaned the lack of financial resources to tackle HIV head on.
According to Dr Atuahene, the Commission currently has just one-third of the money it requires to finance the HIV response.
“The education, counseling and outreach are very essential. We don’t have the money to do all that,” he noted.
It is the objective of the Ghana Aids Commission to end Aids by 2030 and to accomplish this, Dr Atuahene says it begins with diagnosing 95 percent of all persons living with HIV in Ghana and putting all on antiretroviral treatment, as well as achieving viral suppression for the 95 per cent of those treated.
To support this goal, the introduction of the self-testing HIV kit is pivotal.
About 70,000 of the self-testing kits have been distributed across the regions targeting the youth, according to Programme Manager, National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo.
The HIV self-testing kit allows the average Ghanaian to test themselves for HIV in the comfort of their confidential spaces, without the presence and direct supervision of any health worker.
The testing delivers results within 10 minutes. The test is done either using their blood sample or saliva, better known medically as “oral mucosal transudate”.
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