For fear of stigma, sexually active people in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions are not going for the free HIV/AIDS voluntary counseling and testing to ascertain their status, to prevent the spread of the virus.

Mr Ahmed Ibrahim Bimbilla, the Brong-Ahafo Technical Coordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), said it required concerted efforts to address challenges of stigma and discrimination.

He expressed worry over growing population of female sex workers in the regions and appealed for intensified campaign on safe sex.

Despite the Anti Retroviral Therapy, HIV is still prevalent in the regions with new infections spreading fast in rural than urban area.

According to experts, this is because people in rural areas mostly had unprotected sex – they do not use condoms and other contraceptives.

Speaking at a workshop for selected Health Journalists on HIV Reporting at Abesim, near Sunyani, Mr Bimbilla said the HIV/AIDS situation in the three regions was worrying.

About 15 journalists attended the workshop, which was organised by the African Centre for Development Reporting, a Non-governmental Organisation, and sponsored by the United States Embassy in Accra.

Though the regions saw a sharp decline in HIV prevalence in 2017 of 2.0 from 2.7 in 2016, Mr Bimbilla said HIV/AIDS was fast spreading in the Sunyani, Wenchi and Kintampo municipalities.
Ms Golda Asante, a Consultant on HIV/AIDS issues, said HIV remained a national development priority.

She said Ghana had had several frameworks and strategic plans and interventions, which guided the nation in responding to HIV/AIDS.

Ms Asante said currently the national population of HIV/AIDS was estimated at 316,613 people comprising 289,883 adults and 26,730 children.

Current figures on new infections are estimated at 17,649 comprising 15,085 adults and 2,564 children.

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