HIV Alarming In Western Region
5/11/2012 4:02:17 PM -
THE PRESENT HIV/AIDS situation in the Western region is said to be too high and its disastrous effect may be too much to bear if appropriate interventions are not taken to curb it.
Available statistics from the health sector indicate that about 12, 653 people are living with HIV and AIDS in the region.
Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo who disclosed this noted that though numerous resources had been ploughed into the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic, efforts still fall short of expectation.
He said much remained to be done to meet the UN Millennium Development Goal of halting and reversing the spread of HIV by 2015.
'Reaching these targets and substantially reducing the impact of this devastating epidemic in our region requires collaborative efforts from all sectors of society including educational institutions, government, religious organizations and the mass media,' he stressed.
When it come to access to HIV treatment services, the story isn't any better as currently there are only 15 Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ATR) sites and 407 health facilities in the area.
Addressing journalists at a media training programme on HIV reporting at Sekondi, Mr. Aidoo noted the HIV situation in the region is unacceptable.
According to him, the 2010 HIV Sentinel Survey (HSS) report indicated the region ranked third in terms of HIV prevalence nationwide.
He attributed problems militating against HIV treatment and control efforts to misconceptions that only the socially deviant and immoral contracted the disease.
Mr. Aidoo expressed regret that in some parts of the country, HIV infected individuals or those perceived to be at risk were shunned by their communities while children living with the disease were being forced out of school.
He called on the media to champion the crusade to end this discrimination and give the HIV agenda a priority in order to facilitate a reduction of its prevalence in the region.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi