Accra,- The Bono Region recorded the highest HIV prevalence in Ghana with 4.2 per cent out of a total national prevalence of 346,120, the 2020 HIV Sentinel Survey (HSS) has revealed.
According to the survey, out of the 346,120 cases made up of 317,410 adults and 28,170 children recorded nationwide, a total of 19,176 were from the Bono Region, representing 4.2 per cent.
The Ashanti Region recorded the next highest prevalence of 3.6 per cent though its HIV population was 72, 245, while the Bono East Region recorded 3.5 per cent with its HIV population standing at 14,273.
Both the Greater Accra and Bono East Regions recorded a prevalence of 3.5 per cent, followed by the Upper West region where a 2.6 per cent prevalence was recorded with the Eastern and Ahafo Regions recording 2.4 per cent.
The 2020 survey revealed that the Western recorded 2.3 per cent, Central Region 2.2 per cent, Western North Region 2.1 per cent while the Upper East and Oti Regions recorded 1.9 per cent each.
The Volta Region registered 1.7 per cent while the Savannah Region recorded some 1.0 per cent.
Two regions, North-East and Northern Region, had a prevalence of less than one per cent.
According to an overview of the 2020 HSS and estimated results, HIV prevalence in urban areas was higher than in rural areas for both mean and median HIV prevalence.
“The urban site had a median prevalence of 2.6 per cent and a mean of 2.7 per cent while rural areas had a median and mean prevalence of 1.8 per cent respectively,” the study said.
Dr Ayisi Addo, Programmes Manager, National AIDS/STI Control Programme, speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, said the NACP was noticing that HIV was still established in the Southern Zone or Belt, particularly in urbanised locations, including Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions compared to the Northern belt with lower prevalence.
However, explaining the variations in prevalence, he said his outfit, after the study, had noted an establishment of prevalence in the Middle Belt – Bono, Bono East and Ahafo.
He said once those regions were separated, it was further realised that Bono stood out as the Region with the highest prevalence of 4.2 though people living with HIV was higher in the Ashanti Region representing where 3.6 per cent was recorded.
“Because the population in Ashanti is higher than Bono, and when the percentage is translated into numbers, there are more persons living with HIV in Ashanti Region,” he explained.
Dr Addo said, the urban settings had higher prevalence compared to rural areas due to a number of factors, including commercial activities and social interactions.
He said high risk behaviours like female sex work with a prevalence of 4.6 per cent and homosexual activities representing 18 per cent, were high contributors of the surging numbers in prevalence in the country.
Dr Addo said with the current trend of HIV infections in the country, there was need for enhanced education at all levels to nip the phenomenon in the bud and safeguard the younger population.
Source: Ghana News Agency