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Ghana’s HIV Population On A High Rise; 85% Of New Infections Are 25 Years And Above



The Ghana AIDS Commission has raised alarm over the increasing rate of new HIV infections and the age demographics most affected. During a press conference in Accra on Wednesday, June 19, the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, presented the 2023 national and sub-national HIV and AIDS estimates and projections. He stressed the urgency for Ghana to announce and implement effective plans to achieve epidemic control.

Dr. Atuahene revealed a worrying trend, noting a 9.0% increase in the HIV population from 2013 to 2023, with a projected 6.8% increase from 2023 to 2030. Despite a 14.8% decrease in new HIV infections, now standing at 17,774, the overall situation remains critical. Additionally, the country recorded 12,480 deaths due to AIDS, marking a 20.5% decrease from 2013 to 2023, with a further expected decrease of 58.1% from 2023 to 2030.

The total HIV population in Ghana is currently 334,095, with new infections at 17,774. The regions with the highest numbers of HIV cases are Accra, Ashanti, and the Eastern Region, while the Bono Region leads with an HIV prevalence rate of 2.12%.

Dr. Atuahene highlighted the significant impact on adults aged 25 and above, who constitute about 84.7% of the HIV population. “You can see quite clearly that the bulk of the people either dying of AIDS, being newly infected, or being part of the HIV population in the country lie between the ages of 15 to 49,” he stated. This age group is crucial as it represents the economically active segment of the population, vital for the country’s workforce and economic support.

Dr. Atuahene emphasized that HIV is not only a health issue but also a developmental, economic, and business issue. He called for a collective effort to eliminate AIDS and achieve epidemic control. “Our ability to eliminate AIDS or end AIDS and achieve epidemic control in the country should be the business of everyone, and therefore, we need to work together,” he urged.

In September 2023, Dr. Atuahene disclosed that over 39,000 youth aged 15 to 24 years in Ghana were living with HIV. This age group constitutes 11% of the cumulative 355,000 Ghanaians living with the virus since the first case was recorded.

Despite efforts to reduce infections by 17% annually, challenges remain. “Although the commission aims to reduce infections by 17% every year, we are unable to because of hikes in immoral activities,” Dr. Atuahene noted. However, he mentioned a reduction in infections by 8% in 2022.

The Commission continues to focus on reducing new infections as a critical metric for controlling the epidemic. “When we talk about HIV, we focus more on new infections because the more people get infected, the more we keep adding to the existing number,” Dr. Atuahene explained.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com


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