HIV/AIDS among youth up by 45% due to ‘risky sex’ – AIDS Commission
The Ghana AIDS Commission says the prevalence of HIV/AIDS amongst the country’s youth in 2017, particularly those below the age of 24, rose to about 45% nationwide.
The Commission attributed the upsurge to unprotected sex as well as low knowledge of the youth about the infection.
Speaking at the launch of the 2018 World AIDS Day, the acting Director of the Commission, Steve Kyeremeh Atuahene, bemoaned the prevalence rate.
“Young people take a lot of risks that expose them to HIV infection, but they do not protect themselves. Protection is use of condoms during high risk sex. Knowledge of HIV prevention is also low among young people. And so whilst they are taking risk they do not seek the knowledge that will enable them protect themselves, neither do they use the protective methods available to them. This is the reason why we are seeing high number of new infections among young people under 24 years,” he added.
As part of efforts to reduce the spread of the infection, Atuahene said the Commission has adopted multiple approaches including intensive education.
He also encouraged the youth to check their HIV status.
“What we are doing to prevent new infections is that, we are using multiple approaches. For us to do effective prevention, everybody who lives with HIV must know his or her status. If you don’t know your status, then you will be spreading the virus unaware. The other thing is to promote condom use,” Atuahene added.
In 2016, new HIV infections in Ghana went up by 70.15%.
The figure increased from 12,000 new infections in 2015, to 20,418 in 2016.
A Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) report also revealed that in 2016, a total of 15,116 people in Ghana died of HIV and AIDS-related illness.