Acting director of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Kyeremeh Atuahene, has revealed that HIV infections among the youth aged 24 and younger have increased by 45% in the country.
According to him, “The statistics are not different [from two years ago]. What is different is that we are seeing more and more infections among young people. And we need to tackle that.”
He said this finding is supported by figures of the 2014 demographic and health survey report which shows that young people take a lot of risks which exposes them to HIV infections, but they do not protect themselves during sex.
Ghana on Thursday launched a series of activities at the Information Services Department in Accra to mark World AIDS Day which is celebrated across the globe on December 1.
Mr Atuahene, however, acknowledged that there has been a marginal decline in the HIV/AIDS infections from 20,000 to 19, 100.
“Knowledge of HIV prevention is also quite low among young people. And so whiles they are taking a risk, they do not seek the knowledge that will enable them to protect themselves and neither do they use the protective methods available to them and this is the reason why we are seeing a high number of new infections among young people under 24 years,” he said.
He advised that “everybody has to know his/her status that’s why we are making HIV testing service available in all health facilities and in the communities.”
“The other thing we are doing to prevent new infections is to promote condom use which we continue to emphasize that people who cannot abstain from sex should use condoms at all times especially if they are not married.”
World AIDS Day is a day set aside by UNAIDS to inspire global solidarity for persons infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS as well as commemorate those who have lost their lives to the epidemic. It is a day set aside to assess the impact of the epidemic on nations and join hands to plan strategies to minimise its impact.
By: Joseph Nii Ankrah