HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is assuming an alarming proportion in Bono region. Prisca Andaye, a director at the regional coordinating council said this in a speech she read for the Regional Minister, Madam Evelyn Ama Kumi Richardson, at the regional celebration of World AIDS day in Sunyani.
The celebration was under the global theme, ‘’Communities make the difference. Help end AIDS’’.
The Regional Minister noted Bono Region has the second highest prevalence rate of 2.48 per cent of adult HIV prevalence in the country after Ahafo region, with the regional capital, Sunyani being among the top 20 districts with the highest HIV prevalence in Ghana.
She explained that the former Brong Ahafo Region recorded its highest HIV prevalence of 2.9% in the year 2009 per the HIV Sentinel Survey Report.
The Ghana AIDS Commission in collaboration with Ghana Health Service and with support from other stakeholders including CSOs and NGOs worked tirelessly to implement various forms of interventions to decrease the pandemic in the region, she stated.
Madam Richardson said the regional prevalence decreased to 2.0% in 2010, 2011, 2012 but increased to 2.1% and 2.6% in 2013 and 2014 respectively. She indicated that the lowest and highest prevalence rates of 1.7% and 2.7 per cent were recorded in 2015 and 2016 in the region but decreased to 2.0% in 2017 and currently 2.0% in 2018.
She noted that Ghana has joined the world target of 90-90-90 to be achieved in 2020 which she explained that at least 90% of those affected with HIV would have been put on antiretroviral treatment and 90% of persons on treatment would have achieved a viral suppression by the year 2020.
Madam Richardson commended the government for its commitment to ensuring an improved health system in the country as it continues to resource the Ghana AIDS Commission to work at safeguarding the human resource from the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS.
She however called on stakeholders for their concentrated efforts towards creating awareness on the pandemic and how to prevent it.
The Regional Minister cautioned spiritualists and pastors who claim to have the cure for HIV to desist from the practice, saying the only approved medication for HIV is anti retroviral treatment available at the various health centers
Madam Justina Awo Banahene, Sunyani Municipal Chief Executive, also in an address called on women to abstain from unprotected sex since reports indicated that women are the most affected by the pandemic.
Women are vulnerable to getting the disease since they are always at the receiving end hence the need for them to be cautious of their sexual lives.
The Regional President of the People Living with HIV in the region Rev. Jacob Asare who has lived with the disease for 28 years called on the public to desist from stigmatization to help affected persons to come out boldly to declare their status which he said will help minimize the prevalence rate in the country.
www.arkfmonline.com / Rosemond Kissiwaa