The rate of HIV-AIDS in Ghana has taken a rise in recent times, with activists warning that the situation could get worse if nothing is done.
According to available records, the number of Ghanaians infected by HIV decreased drastically from 3.4% to 1.4% between 2003 and 2014. This figure has however risen again to 2.4%, stirring fears in activists who believe it could get worse if nothing is done to curb it.
Meanwhile, health experts have enumerated some of the major reasons why the prevailing rate of HIV-AIDS in Ghana is recently on the rise. They are:
1. Lack of Funds and Support
According to the Vice President of the Ghana HIV/AIDS Network, Edem Kawuba Heini, a lack of support for NGOs trying to mitigate the situation is the main cause of the rise in HIV infections.
Speaking on the Joy TV’s current affairs programme, PM Express, Mr. Heni said there was not much activists could do because most of them have already used all their resources available.
The CSO Advisor for USAID People for Health (P4H) Project, Mukaila Adamu, added that government needs to do more in order to create awareness on HIV. In his view, that can only be done by making available enough funds to push the cause.
2. Low Condom Patronage
The Ghana AIDS Commission has revealed that low usage of condoms counts among the major reasons while HIV-AIDS in Ghana is on a fast rise. The Commission explained that despite the fact that Ghana imports about 30 million condoms annually, patronage remains very low low.
Speaking during a two-day workshop on HIV/AIDS reporting organised by the African Centre for Development in Accra, the acting Director of Technical Services at the Ghana AIDS Commission, Mr Cosmos Ohene-Adjei, said the low patronage of condoms in the country was worrying in relation to efforts at ensuring the prevention of new cases of HIV infections and transmission of the disease from infected persons to uninfected people.
He said among the three preventive mechanisms to prevent HIV/AIDS transmission, including abstinence, faithfulness and condom use, it was the condom use that offers greater preventive mechanisms.
He has, therefore, encouraged the use of condoms to help prevent HIV spread or transferring of the virus from an infected person to an uninfected person.
3. HIV/AIDS Stigma and Status Ignorance
Cosmos Ohene-Adjei also indicated that many Ghanaians were unaware of their HIV status due to the stigma attached to the disease in the eyes of the public.
The issue of the stigma attached to HIV-AIDS in Ghana is really a serious one. Recall that Ghana’s one-time HIV/AIDS ambassador, Joyce Dzidzor was forced to deny her positive status when she could no longer stand the abuse.
Mr Ohene-Adjei further pointed out that as of 2016, more than 290,000 Ghanaians were living with HIV, but only 104,000 out of the figure were on treatment.
4. Decreased Reportage and Awareness
Also Speaking at the 2-day workshop, the PEPFAR Country Coordinator for Ghana, Dzifa Awunyo-Akaba in her address urged the participants to use their mediums to educate Ghanaians on the disease.
She expressed unhappiness about low coverage of HIV/AIDS stories in the media, saying that the issue “is generally under reported or misreported in the media”. According to her, accurate information on HIV/AIDS would guide many people in their response to the disease.
Dzifa Awunyo-Akaba, however, expressed optimism that the workshop would help create a generation of health reporters that would educate and inform the citizenry about the true state of HIV-AIDS in Ghana.