The Director of Technical Services at the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), Dr. Richard Amenyah, has disclosed that AIDS related deaths have reduced significantly in the country.

According to him, from 2005 to 2011, Ghana has made significant strides in the control and management of AIDS as deaths related to the disease has reduced by 30% within the period.

Dr. Amenyah made this disclosure in Cape Coast on Wednesday during the opening of a three day sensitization workshop for media personnel in the Central region on HIV/AIDS.

He also revealed that Ghana is the only the country in West Africa that has reduced new HIV infections by 66% between 2001 to 2011.

He added that the country is also amongst 16 countries with 21 to 39% reduction in mother to child transmission.

Dr. Amenyah pointed out that this year?s HIV prevalence has been estimated to hit about 222,124, adding 330,000 children were born with HIV in 2011 in the country.

He explained that the population most at risk is female sex workers and men who have sex with men (homosexuals) accounting for the highest prevalence group with 38%.

He further explained that more than ten million condoms have been distributed to sex workers as part of the national strategic plan to encourage and maximize condom use amongst them.

He stated condom use amongst sex workers is only 50% even though there are about 60,000 sex workers in the country.

The Director of Technical Services at the GAC mentioned some of the challenges facing them in the discharge of their duties as pregnant women who test positive for HIV and refuse to come for treatment and which puts their lives and that of their unborn babies at risk.

He also bemoaned the situation where Ghana still depends on external funding which is about 70% for HIV programmes, adding that there is currently no money to run the national programme.

He therefore called for Ghanaians to have an attitudinal change and stop discriminating and stigmatizing people living with HIV/AIDS to help them live healthier and longer.

The Director General of GAC, Dr. Angela El-Adas noted that testing HIV positive is not a death sentence and charged people to stop pushing people who test positive early into their grave but show them love and care to enable them live longer.

STORY: FROM MAGDALENE SEY, CAPE COAST, C/R.

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