Ghana’s HIV prevalence for 2013 declines

Ghana’s HIV prevalence has again declined from 1.37 per cent in 2012 to 1.30 per cent for 2013, Sentinel Survey (HSS) and National Prevalence and Estimates report has revealed.

The report which was released in Accra on Tuesday, said an estimated 224,488 persons were living with HIV in Ghana.

It explained that the 2013 HIV prevalence dropped below 2 per cent for the first time in the history of HSS; reinforcing an overall declining epidemic trend in Ghana.

A number of 7,812 were newly infected out of which 2,407 were children under 14 years and 10,074 AIDS deaths of which 2,248 were children from zero to 14 years.

Speaking at the meeting to release the 2013 HSS report in Accra on Tuesday, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Acting Programme Manager of the National AIDS Control Programme of the Ghana Health Service said the number of AIDS orphans was estimated at 184,16.

According to the report, the total need for Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) for 2013 was estimated at 125,396 of which children between the ages of zero to 14 years at 18,621.

The report said an estimated 11,682 being mothers would also need Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMCT) services.

The HSS is a cross sectional survey targeting pregnant women who attend antenatal clinic in selected sites in Ghana.

In the last six years, it has being the source of primary data for the estimation and projection of the HIV and AIDS impact of the general population of the country. The 2013 survey is the 22nd since its inception.

Dr Ayisi Addo noted that Eastern Region continued to record the highest prevalence with 3.7 per cent followed by Ashanti Region with 3.2 per cent, and Greater Accra with 2.7 per cent.

Northern, Upper West and Central Regions recorded the lowest with 0.8 per cent, 0.8 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectfully. Western Region recorded 2.4 per cent, Brong Ahafo recorded a prevalence of 2.1 per cent, Upper East recorded a prevalence of 1.7 per cent and Volta Region recorded 1.2 percent.

He said HIV prevalence in urban was higher than in rural areas with Agomenya in the Eastern Region recording the highest of 11.6 per cent followed by Obuasi with 5.5 per cent and Koforidua with 3.9 per cent.

The lowest was Jirapa and Ho with 0.6 per cent for both; followed by Nalerigu which recorded 0.8 per cent.

In all, 18, 299 samples collected were analyzed from 68 antenatal clinics located in 39 sentinel sites across the country.

HIV prevalence in the young age group of 15-24 was still low with an increasing prevalence by age. The peak prevalence of 3.3 per cent was recorded in the age 45-49 years group.

According to the report, the HIV sub-type 1 is still the most dominant with 97.1 per cent proportion and aggregate HIV type II shrunk in proportion relative to HIV I.

Dr Ayisi Addo called on stakeholders and development partners to view Ghana as a smart invest country as defined by the UNAIDS to ensure that progress made so far was preserved.

“This is the time for more resources to push Ghana further to the dream of eliminating AIDS soon in context of global efforts towards a generation free AIDS by 2020,” he said. GNA

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