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Health News Wed, 1 Dec 2010

Upper East Region HIV prevalence rate hits above national average.

Bolgatanga (U.E), Dec.1, GNA- The Upper East Region has a HIV prevalence rate of 2.2 per cent, exceeding the national average of 1.9 pe= r cent, Dr Ernest Opoku, Deputy Regional Director in charge of clinical car= e, said on Wednesday.

He said there were spots in the Region where HIV prevalence was near= ly 3 per cent saying it was a challenge, as HIV was not easily detected afte= r an initial infection doubling the rates of infection among people unknowingly Dr Opoku made this revelation during this year's commemoration of Wo= rld AIDS Day in Bolgatanga under the theme: "Universal Access and Human Right= s; Action Now". He said though the country's HIV prevalence was better compared to other countries, the 1.9 per cent was considered a generalised HIV epidem= ic where HIV prevalence had consistently been above one per cent among pregn= ant women, and of which no segment of the population was spared the menace" He said the HIV prevalence is higher in sub populations such as homosexuals and professional sex workers.

Dr Opoku said the Regional Directorate as part of its efforts to achieve universal access to treatment, care and support, was assisting private service providers and other satellite clinics dotted over the reg= ion to provide the required services.

Mr Mark Owen Woyongo, Upper Regional Minister, said the reduction in=

the lifespan of the country's productive citizens was worrying saying it was separating families and leaving in its wake, orphans and vulnerable children. He asked people of the region to be reminded of the threats of the disease and galvanise support for the necessary measures to eliminate the=

mother-to-child transmission and to sustain and scale up the proportion o= f people living with HIV who were on treatment by 2015.

Mr Woyongo asked the people of the region to appreciate the enormity= of the problem; being the least developed region coupled with the HIV and AI= DS threat, calling on all to be crusaders of its eradication.

Madam Teni Ayuepaadu, the Regional President of People Living with H= IV and AIDs, appealed to President John Atta Mills and the NDC government to=

include the anti retroviral treatment on the drug list of the National Health Insurance Scheme. She said many of her colleagues preferred to stay at home leading t= o premature death because they are not able to pay the GH¢5.00 fee for dr= ugs when they visit the clinic every month. 01 Nov.10

Source: GNA