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13.07.2019 Health

HIV /AIDS Predominant In Gay Community; Ghana AIDS Commission admonishes GAYs to use condoms.

By KOJO LUCKY
HIV /AIDS Predominant In Gay Community; Ghana AIDS Commission admonishes GAYs to use condoms.

24 year old boy (name withheld) gay confesses he nearly committed suicide when he realized he was HIV positive.

In 2014, he was tested for HIV after he took ill and was innocently treating malaria for several weeks but with no results.

His boyfriend at the time, he discovered his boyfriend was a bisexual who had the disease and didn’t tell him.

At a point, when reality dawn on him, he confessed he wanted to kill himself.

‘’I was disappointed he never told me. I wanted to even commit suicide and end it.’’

The Ghana AIDS Commission has allocated counselors to Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) to help them with counseling and behavioral related activities.

(Name withheld) He would then seek for medical attention from the Kumasi South Hospital where he is now on Antiretroviral Drugs (ARD).

Apart from them, the counselors are currently working on him and that prevented the suicide attempt.

He is however kept his condition away from his family and friends because of stigmatization which is still high in the country despite several educations.

When asked his behavioral change, he revealed, ‘’ I have been using condoms to avoid any health problem”.

Meanwhile, health professionals continue to express worry at the continuous rise in HIV/AIDS prevalence among the homosexual community in Ghana.

HEALTH OFFICIALS ADVISE
The HIV prevalence among Ghanaian men who have sex with other men (MSM), also known as homosexuals, has hit an alarming 19 percent, according to the HIV Sentinel Survey (HSS) 2017.

This means that almost two out of every 10 MSM in Ghana are HIV positive, however, majority of MSM in Ghana do not practise it exclusively, implying that they have sexual intercourse with males and females, a situation health professionals have identified as contributing to new infections.

Ashanti Regional Coordinator for Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Thomas Agyarko Poku, express worry at the high risk of HIV among the homosexual community.

He doubles as the superintendent Officer at Suntreso Government Hospital in Kumasi of the Ashanti Region.

Dr Agyarko Poku particularly makes reference to the fact that the anus was not meant for sex and that cause a lot of bruises.

‘’the anal wasn’t created for sex therefore it’s tissue sometimes get bruised exposing it to the disease during unprotected sex if anyone of the partners is affected.’’

It is often advised to use condoms during sex for both hetero and homosexuals to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases.

Though he admonishes gays to always use condoms, Dr Agyarko Poku indicates that even using condoms often doesn’t guarantee the safety of gay persons during sex.

‘’condoms are very important to prevent STIs but among gays it doesn’t guarantee safety because of the nature of the anus, it almost always will tear and so if the person has the disease, it can easily be transferred,’’ he said.

He mentioned how majority of the clients who visited the facility for drugs or counseling were affected by their partners through same sexual intercourse.

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