The Programme Manager of the National STIs and HIV/AIDS Control Programme, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, has raised the alarm that 23,495 people tested positive for HIV in the first half of this year (January to June).
The Programme Manager, who made this known in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, said even though last year’s half year figure was 25,545, this year’s figure was too high.
According to him “The figure for this new infection is too high, so we need to intensify education to let people know that HIV is still real; it is around and there must be constant reminders. We have to let people know that they need to stick to the prevention strategies, whether they are children or adults”..
Without gain saying it, HIV/AIDS, is a major health challenge that is spreading fast like bush fire in the harmattan. Ghana recorded its first case in March 1986, and by the end of that year, the number had increased to 26.
Since then, Ghana has lost tremendous wit and verve to fight the spread of the virus, which is no longer life threatening.
The reason the programme manager gave for the upsurge in the numbers is, unlike small pox and other diseases that had been eliminated, HIV was still circulating among the population, and that as long as people had sex and were getting married, they would transmit it to others.
He said complacency and ignorance were responsible for the new cases, explaining that because health authorities were no longer making noise about the dangers of the disease, people thought there was no longer a problem.
This state of affairs, in the opinion of this newspaper, is worrisome and alarming. The prevalence of the disease according to Dr Ayisi Addo, was higher in men who had sex with men, with a prevalence rate of 18 per cent; female sex workers, with a prevalence of 4.6 per cent, and those who have STIs, with a prevalence of about 12 per cent, according to the last survey they did.
What this unfortunate development reminds everyone in the opinion of this newspaper, is the urgent need for the governments, as well as other stakeholders to do the needful to avert an avoidable disaster.
As a newspaper, we urge the governments to allocate more resources to awareness creation. Gone were the days, when we used to have adverts on the television and radio, the current situation is a reminder that, it is time we go back to those days.