One in ten HIV persons is between 15-24 years, report says
A staggering 12% of Ghanaians living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana is between the ages of 15 and 24, a Ghana AIDS Commission report has said.
This data is what was recorded at the end of 2020. Numerically, the story is that about 42,000 of about 347,000 known HIV/AIDS cases fall within the age range stated above.
Dr Fred Nana Poku, the Director of Technical Service at the commission, has said his outfit believes the steady rise in infections is down to a decline in public awareness about what is going on in the country.
Ghana recorded some 20,068 new HIV infections, with 13,616 HIV/AIDS-related deaths in 2019 alone. Of the number of new infections at the end of 2019, 5,613 people, making up 28%, were aged between 15 and 24.
The share of infections covered by that age bracket is expected to rise too in data the AIDS commission will soon release.
Last year, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), warned that Ghana’s failure to invest sufficiently in comprehensive, rights-based, people-centred responses to HIV and AIDS makes the country unlikely to reach the global targets of 90-90-90 anytime soon.
The global HIV/AIDS target of 90-90-90 required that by the end of 2020, 90% of people living with HIV will know their status while 90% of those who know their HIV status to be positive will be on antiretroviral treatment.
Another 90% of people on antiretroviral treatment were expected to have their viral load suppressed to an undetectable level, at which point they become un-transmittable.
As things stand, Ghana’s records are 58-77-68.
Apart from a lack of awareness and investment, stigmatization has been cited as one of the biggest impediments to keeping HIV infections at minimal rates. This is in spite of the fact that stigmatization offends Ghanaian law.
Stigmatization and discrimination of people living with HIV are subject to prosecution in Ghana. It is enshrined in the 1992 constitution that a culprit can face up to 3 years imprisonment, or 200 penalty units or both.
The Ghana Aids Commission Act 938 (2016) also gives provision for non-discrimination so as to mitigate the effect of stigmatization.