The HIV prevalent rate in the Volta Region went up from 2.2 per cent in 2011 to 2.5 per cent in 2012.

This is higher than current national adult HIV prevalence of 1.37 per cent.

Dr Angela El-Adas, the Director-General of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC), said this at the Volta Region World AIDS Day Commemorative durbar held at Shia, a border community in the Ho Municipality.

She said ?it is therefore important that the region work harder and creatively to reverse the increasing trend?.

Dr El-Adas said Ghana generally was doing well, as the prevalent rate continued to dip from 3.6 in 2003 to 1.37 in 2012.

She said Ghana had reduced by 76 per cent the number of new infections among children, due to an increased coverage of anti-retroviral prophylaxis for pregnant women living with HIV.

Dr El-Adas said Ghana was also the only country in West Africa to reduce mother-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV to this level.

?It is the only country in West Africa to attain the tipping point, a milestone for a nation, where the number of people starting HIV treatment exceeds the number of people acquiring HIV infection,? she stated.

?We are definitely making progress in the national HIV response.  And I must congratulate all stakeholders who have been working hard to reach the point where we are today?.

Dr El-Adas said despite the successes, Ghana was yet to reach the goal of ?reducing new HIV infections to zero?.

The global theme chosen by the UNAIDS for the World AIDS Day is ?Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination, Zero AIDS-Related Deaths?.

The Sub-Theme for Ghana is ?Getting to Zero: Accelerating the National HIV Response towards the MDGs?.

World AIDS Day (WAD) is a day set aside to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS, pay tribute to those living with and affected by HIV and AIDS as well as to remember those who have died as a result.

Dr Winfred Ofosu, Deputy Director of Health in charge Public Health at the Volta Regional Directorate of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the HIV prevalence among pregnant women in the Volta Region had increased from 1.8 per cent in 2010 to 2.5 in 2012.

?This makes the region the 4th highest in HIV prevalence in the country,? he stated.

Dr Ofosu said from the administrative data, 10,590 clients were tested for HIV from January to September out of which 1,865 (17.6 per cent) tested positive.

He said during the same period among pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in the region, out of 37,264 registrants, 25,422 (68 per cent) were tested for HIV as part of prevention of mother-to-child transmission intervention and  628 (2.5 per cent) were positive.

Dr Ofosu said there were plans to scale up HIV services for every district to have an Anti-Retroviral Treatement clinic.

He said some core activities of the Volta Regional Health Directorate for the coming year include increase awareness creation, expansion of services to prisons and other vulnerable groups in society and ensuring 100 per cent availability of Anti-Retrovirals at all ART centres.

Mr Joseph Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo, the Volta Regional Minister in a speech read for him said Ghana had come a long way ?from the mid 1980s when the first AIDS cases were diagnosed.

He said ?due to the expansion in the frontiers of scientific knowledge, global and national efforts it had become common knowledge that being HIV positive was not a death sentence.?

Source: GNA

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