Mr. Dramani Yakubu, the Western Regional Technical Coordinator for HIV and AIDs says intergenerational sex and ‘hook up’ have become a major avenue for new HIV infections in the Region.
Currently, the Region has 1,101 new infections, and 23,004 persons with HIV and AIDS while, defaulter rate stood at 40 percent.
Mr Yakubu told the Ghana News Agency that the Region’s prevalence rate was 1.63. slightly below the national prevalence of 1.66.
The figures, he hinted had 66 percent of the affected being females while 34 percent were males, increasing women’s vulnerability.
The HIV and AIDs Technical Coordinator said, “we also suspect intergenerational sex where older men who are exposed to the condition, or the virus dated much younger women and they pass it on to younger women.”
He said young girls between the ages of 15 and 24 were the most affected, adding, “They are becoming very vulnerable people and the number of them infected is getting higher.”
Another challenge, he noted was the new style of hookup culture where people just hook up and have sex and they do not take any preventive measures like using condom that was supposed to protect them from getting the virus.
There was also the side of people who falsely claim cured on religious grounds.
Mr Yakubu said more and more people were becoming complacent since the disease now presented no physical symptoms of a skinned and dying persons.
He noted, ” People literally are complacent because they don’t see persons with HIV being sick, skinny, they get complacent that it is not around.”
Touching on targets, he said the defaulter rate coupled with other factors was hampering the achievement of viral suppression and the 95, 95, 95 goal.
The goal sought to have 95 percent of people tested to know their status, 95 percent placed on medication and 95 percent achieved viral suppression.
He said people who stopped medications were also a challenge, adding, “When they stop the medication, the virus multiplies again, and they can transmit.”
He lauded the contributions of Life Relief Foundation, an HIV and AIDS centered NGO for working closing with the Ghana Health Service in trying to bring back those who have defaulted.
The 2023 theme for the National AIDS celebration, he mentioned was, “Let Communities Lead.”
He said, community initiatives-built trust, held people accountable…”Communities are where people can demand accountability from service providers and the same communities are where we stigmatize against HIV and AIDS people. So, our belief is that if communities lead in HIV response, we will be in a better place to achieve our aim”.