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HIV INFECTIONS: Ghana records 17,774 in 2023; 6,457 males and 11,317 females

Ghana is grappling with a persistent HIV epidemic, despite a decade-long effort to curb new infections.

Data from the 2023 national and sub-national HIV and AIDS estimates reveal a troubling scenario: 17,774 people were newly infected with HIV last year.

This includes 6,457 males and 11,317 females.

The new infections are particularly alarming among the youth, with 4,869 individuals aged 15 to 24, 1,698 children under 15, and 1,520 adolescents aged 10 to 19 contracting the virus.

Adults above 15 years old accounted for 16,076 new cases.

Dr. Kyeremeh Atuahene, Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, disclosed these figures in Accra on Wednesday, highlighting a 14.8 per cent decrease in new infections from 2013 to 2023.

However, this falls short of the annual target of a 17 per cent reduction.

"The data indicates that Ghana has not been able to achieve its annual target of a 17 per cent reduction in new HIV infections in the last ten years," Dr. Atuahene said.

Looking forward, Ghana aims for a 41 per cent reduction in new HIV infections between 2023 and 2030.

Projections for 2023 also paint a grim picture of the HIV landscape in Ghana. Approximately 334,095 people were living with HIV, including 115,891 males and 218,204 females.

This population included 17,550 children under 14, 16,381 adolescents between 10 and 19, 33,245 young adults between 15 and 24, and 316,545 adults aged 15 and up.

The data showed a nine per cent increase in the HIV population from 2013 to 2023, with an expected rise of 6.8 per cent by 2030.

Additionally, 12,480 Ghanaians succumbed to AIDS-related illnesses in 2023, despite the availability of treatments that can prevent the progression and fatality of the disease.

Dr. Atuahene stressed that AIDS-related mortality should not continue, given the effective treatments available.

He emphasized Ghana's commitment to the global 95-95-95 targets, which aim to ensure 95 per cent of people living with HIV are aware of their status, 95 per cent of those receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART) attain viral suppression, and 95 per cent of those on ART know their status by 2025.

In 2023, Ghana achieved 65.3 per cent for the first target, 69.4 per cent for the second, and 89.0 per cent for the third.

The majority of those living with HIV in Ghana are between the ages of 15 and 49, a demographic that is also the country's economically active population.

"Stopping the AIDS epidemic in the country should be a key priority for everyone," Dr. Atuahene urged, underscoring the importance of continued efforts and increased awareness to combat the HIV crisis.

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith



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