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General News
Thousands of children in Ghana infected with HIV 11/24/2009

Accra, Nov. 24, GNA - There were 22,541 new infections of HIV and 18,082 deaths recorded last year, a health expert said in Accra on Tuesday.

However, the national HIV prevalence rate declined from 1.9 per cent in 2007 to 1.7 in 2008, indicating a stabilizing condition, Mrs Vera Quaye, an HIV and AIDS= consultant, said on Tuesday.

She said about 22,241 children under-14 years were infected with HIV= with an estimated 236,151 adult persons living with HIV and AIDS.

The 25 to 29 year group recorded the highest prevalence level whilst= the 15 to 19 year group recorded the lowest, Mrs Quaye said at a day''s workshop for staff a= nd stakeholders in the tourism sector organized by the Ministry of Tourism. She said the 2008 statistics indicated that all the regions with the= exception of Eastern Region recorded a decrease in prevalence from 2007 levels with Greater Accra, Ashanti and Eastern regions recording prevalence of three per cent and above. Eastern Region recorded the highest of 4.5 per cent, Ashanti 3.0 per= cent, Greater Accra 3.0 per cent, Brong-Ahafo 2.6 per cent, Upper West 1.6 per cent, Western,= 2.9 per cent, Central 2.0 per cent, Upper East 2.5 per cent Volta 1.7 per cent and Northern Region 1.1 per cent.

She said HIV site prevalence for 2008 also indicates that North Tong= u in the Volta Region (rural) recorded 0.0 per cent with Agomenya (urban) in the Eastern= region recording 8.0 per cent.

She said in spite of the national decline the number of persons living with HIV and AIDS would continue to increase due to the combined effects of population growth and an increasing number of HIV infected persons who are living on Anti Retroviral Therapy (ART).

Total adults'' need for ART is expected to increase beyond the 2008 estimate of 63,137. A similar trend is also expected for children who will be in need of Cotrimoxazole with annual positive birth reducing due to improved Prevention to Mother to Child Transmission strategy.

Mrs Quaye called for sustained prevention education targeted at the youth and other special groups to ensure further decline in the overall prevalence.

"The 25-49 years age group also requires targeted messages as prevalence keeps rising among that age group," she said.

Mr Kwabena Acheampong, Deputy Minister of Tourism, called for a demystification of sex education. "The traditional notion of sex is too secretive and mystic which has prevented any discussion about it even within marriage."

"We enter into youthful age with insufficient and disjointed information about sex.this is the bane of the youth and it''s now time to effect a change to ensure that= parents and the home become the first point of call for sex education."

The workshop seeks to equip operators in the industry with the current global situation, national response on HIV and AIDS, stigma and discrimination, the socio-economic impact of HIV and AIDS and the right of people living with HIV. It was attended by staff of the Ministry, Tour Operators, Ghana Chefs Association, Indigenous Catering Association of Ghana - Chop Bar Operators, Centre for= Community Studies and Ghana Tourism Federation.

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