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10,000 people are suffering from HIV/AIDS in UER

2009-12-02 19:51:48
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Health records in the Upper East Region indicates that nearly 10,000 people in the area are living with HIV/AIDS.

The HIV prevalence rate in the Region is 2.0 per cent, which exceeds the National rate of 1.7 per cent.

Navrongo in the Kassena-Nankana East District is leading the Region’s prevalence rate with 2.8 per cent recorded number of infections.

The Regional Director of Health Services, Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams made this known in a speech read on his behalf during the commemoration of World AIDS Day in Bolgatanga.

The theme for the event was:"Universal Access and Human Rights."

He said there were 24 associations of People Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHAs) with a membership of 1,560.

The members, who are supported with funds from Global Fund, carry out monthly meetings and socialisation programmes to promote positive living among them.

He said six hospitals in the Region were providing Anti-retroviral (ARVs) drugs to patients.

Dr. Awoonor-Williams said plans were far advanced to open six additional HIV satellite clinics to increase access to the PLWHAs.

"One hundred health facilities are providing counselling and Testing and Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV Services in the Region," he added.

Dr. Awoonor-Williams indicated that millions of people continue to be infected with HIV every year and explained that less than half of those who were in need of the ARVs therapy were receiving it while majority have no access to adequate treatment, care and support.

"Distance, cost of travel, non- availability of transport, poverty and host of other factors does not permit HIV/AIDS patients in the country especially those in the Upper East Region to access ARVs."

He said the theme for the celebration points to the fact that there was the need for all and sundry to work towards universal access to HIV/AIDS, treatment, prevention and care and recognising such interventions as fundamental human rights.

Dr. Awoonor-Williams urged the people in the Region to go for voluntary counselling and testing to know their HIV/AIDS status to be able to sustain and prolong their life span.

The Regional Minister, Mr. Mark Woyongo appealed to the people not to stigmatize the PLWHAs because such attitudes hasten their death.

He called on people in leadership positions in the country, especially the religious groups to preach against stigmatisation of patients.

The Regional President of the Association of PLWHAs who spoke on condition of anonymity said the ARVs was a good source of relief as it reenergized infected persons to regain their health.

She appealed to the Government to capture the ARVs drugs in the National Health Insurance Scheme to enable patients to get easy access to them.


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