Volta Region last year recorded over 16,000 persons living with HIV and AIDS

Records from the 2023 Volta Region’s HIV Fact sheet indicates that some 16,016 persons are living (PLHIV) with the virus.

This number constitutes 4.8 per cent of the total PLHIV population of 334,095 people in the country.

The new HIV infections for the region stand at 778 for all ages, which constitutes 4.4 per cent of the national infection figure of 17,774, under the period in review.

The Fact sheet shows that people between the age 15-24 accounts for 27.5 per cent of new infections in the region with Central Tongu, Ketu North and South and North contributing 42.03 per cent to the regional new infections.

Mrs Mary Naa Asheley Anyomi, Volta Regional Coordinator, Ghana AIDS Commission disclosed these data at a stakeholder meeting on in Ho.

She said Kpando, Central, and North Tongu Districts posted a prevalence rate of 2.08%, 1.6% and 1.57%, which were higher than the Regional and National rates of 1.53% and 1.35%, respectively.

She said the region returned a prevalence rate of 1.35 per cent for its adu
lt population between 15-49 years and again an antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage for all ages recording 57 per cent.

The coordinator said nine of 18 Districts in the region had less than 49% of ART coverage with a target of 95% with only three districts showing higher coverage of over 75% but lesser than 80%.

Mrs Anyomi indicated multiple media channels and community information centres were educating and creating accurate awareness information on HIV prevention, transmission, and treatment.

She said school clubs were supporting the education on HIV and AIDS with preventive programmes including promotion of use of condoms as well as addressing stigma and discrimination have been stepped up.

On HIV Testing Services, she said self-testing initiative by Ghana HIV and Aids Network (GHANET) in Ho West, Ho, Hohoe and Adaklu Districts as well as community-based testing programmes adopted during festivals and national events as a strategy to let the public know their status.

Dr Archibald Letsa, Volta Regiona
l Minister lamented the phenomenon of donor-dependence on funding for drugs and other medication including ART indicating the need for looking inward.

‘Domestic funding for ARVs is urgently needed to sustain the treatment programme and keep PLHIV alive, strong and healthy,’ as government sets up the national HIV and AIDS Fund to counter fund drugs for the disease.

He said leadership and activism of communities are urgently needed to address the challenges currently plaguing the disease response and accelerate progress towards ending the disease.

A representative of the Network of Persons Living with HIV (NAP+) disclosed that challenges of members are multifaceted including quality of care, shortages of essential drugs, stigmatisation and discrimination.

He said lack of knowledge on the disease is still significant despite adverts and information in the public and on other media channels.

He mentioned discrimination at facilities at the point of testing viral load and in some instances, members were force
d to pay when the service was free.

Reverend Seth Mawutor, Volta Regional Chairman of the Christian Council remarked that HIV and AIDS is no longer a topical issue at the local or community level, entreating major actors like the government to relaunch strategies to bring the matter to the front-burner to combat the disease.

He said it was scary to note that some Districts in the region were recording data above the regional and national figures and called for all hands-on deck approaches.

Source: Ghana News Agency