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General News of Sunday, 1 June 2003

Source: GNA

HIV Prevalence Rate Now 3.4%

The national HIV prevalence rate is 3.4 per cent, sentinel surveillance survey for 2002 has revealed. According to the survey, conducted by the National AIDS Control Programme (NACP) of the Ghana Health Service, there has been a sharp increase of 50 per cent in the prevalence rate within the past three years.

The Programme Manager of the NACP, Dr Nii Acquaye Addo described the trend as "very threatening".

The survey, which was the 10th to be conducted in the country, was to provide HIV prevalence rate for planning, monitoring and evaluation of HIV/AIDS prevention and care activities as well as for the national response to the fight against the menace.

In all, 11, 530 blood samples were collected and analysed from pregnant women attending antenatal clinics between the ages of 15 - 49.

The survey found that the most affected age group was the 25 - 29 whilst those in the 15-19 years group were also catching up very fast.

The regional prevalence rates ranged from 2.0 per cent in the Northern Region to 7.9 per cent in the Eastern Region; while Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions that have very high population had prevalence rates of 3.9 and 4.1 per cent respectively.

Agomenya, which had the highest prevalence rate of 18 per cent now stands at 7 per cent due to some interventions. Koforidua now has the highest prevalent rate of 8.5 per cent, indicating an increase from its previous rate of 6.4 per cent.

The survey indicated that there was no difference in HIV prevalence between the major towns and small towns indicating that the rural communities were seriously affected.

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HIV Prevalence Rate Now 3.4%

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