A total of 23,495 people have tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Ghana for the first half of this year.
The figures represented two per cent of the 948,094 people who undertook HIV testing from January to June 2022 as reported by African News on Wednesday.
The Programme Manager of the National STIs and HIV/AIDS Control Programme, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo said in a report filed by state newspaper, graphic online.
“The figure for this new infection is too high, so we need to intensify education to let people know that HIV is still real; …We have to let people know that they need to stick to the prevention strategies…,” Addo said.
According to the doctor, most of the 23,495 people who tested positive had since been put on HIV treatment.
Addo attributed the figures to complacency and ignorance explaining that awareness creation on the part of health workers had reduced.
“Some youth today don’t know HIV is there. Some know, but they have assumed that it’s gone. People are now more afraid of COVID-19 and the Marburg fever than they are of AIDS,” he pointed out.
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Overall, he said, as of December 2021, the estimated population of HIV-positive persons in the country was 350,000, with only 71 percent being identified by the control programme.
From that number, he revealed that over 245,000, representing 99 per cent were on treatment as of June this year.
He also stated about 79 per cent of those who had the disease and were taking their medication had reached the non-detectable stage, which means they cannot transmit the virus to others.
The Ghanaian medical practitioner added that the prevalence of the disease was higher in men who had sex with men, with a prevalence rate of 18 percent; in female sex workers, with a prevalence of 4.6 per cent.