HIV PREVALENCE IN ACCRA IS FRIGHTENING

The Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) last Wednesday made some startling revelations about the speed at which the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the killer disease that develops into the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), is spreading in Accra.

The HIV is a virus, with no known cure, that attacks the immune system, eventually destroys it and develops into AIDS at the very final stage of infection.

According to the Accra Mayor, 10,996 Accra residents contracted the HIV disease between 2014 and 2016 of which 994 were pregnant women. If nothing was done to put these pregnant women on Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART), to prevent mother-to-child infections, then we have at least 994 newborns within the period with the disease.

Indeed, the break down of the figures year-on-year basis, revealed a consistent rise. With 2,997 cases recorded in 2014, it moved up to 3,883 in 2015 and up again to 4,166 in 2016, a trajectory that must be a worry to anybody in Accra and beyond.

The steady rise shows one thing – the lack of public education and the will to fight the disease.

It appears that Ghanaians have lost zeal to fight the war that was waged against a disease which has killed thousands, since it was discovered in 1983.

In 2015 alone, Ghana, according to Dr Angela El Adas, former director general of the Ghana Aids Commission, recorded a total of about 11,000 HIV AIDS deaths with 12,635 new HIV infections.

She further revealed that there were 274,562 persons living with HIV in the country, out of which 89,113 were on ART drug, another reason why we must all be worried.

That means that the 185,449 who were not on ART have been left to their fate to find a way to fight a disease that has no known cure.

We must, with a renewed commitment collectively fight against the spread of HIV/AIDS which is contracted through blood contact with an infected person.

In the 1990s when the campaign to create awareness on the deadly disease was at its peak, there were a gamut of measures that were adopted in that regard, some of which included billboards with the ‘Abstain, Be faithful and Condom use (ABC) theory’ and an army of musicians also composed tunes to make people aware of the disease.  In fact civil society was deeply involved in the fight against the disease.

The Ghanaian Times is of the considered opinion that the observed rise in the capital city could be because of lack of public education and the assumption that the disease is over.  From these statistics, we are far from winning the war.

What is clear now is the surge in the figures in Accra, but what is not known, as at now, is the situation in other parts of the country between the period and what it would be in the future if nothing is done now!

We call on the Ghana Aids Commission to relaunch a national campaign as used to be in the past and urge government to give the necessary financial and logistical support to the commission before the country is inundated with increased HIV cases.

We urge the government and all stakeholders to renew their efforts and commitment to vigorously combat the disease.  We can no longer adopt a laisser faire attitude in the fight against the menace.

 

 

 

 

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