HEALTH & LIFESTYLE

Ghana Records Surge In HIV Cases Among Pregnant Women – NACP

According to Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo, Manager of the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, there has been a spike in HIV cases among pregnant women in the country, which is due to the increased confidence infertility among HIV-positive people.

According to him, data analysis in a Sentinel Survey done in 2020 found that women who had been pregnant more than once had a greater prevalence than women who had never been pregnant, partly due to their confidence in their ability to have healthy infants.

According to the study, prevalence among general Antenatal Care (ANC) clients was 2% in 2020, whereas prevalence among individuals with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis was 10 percent.

According to the HIV Estimates and AIDS Projections report, 5,200 new HIV infections were detected in children aged 0 to 14 in 2020, out of a total population of roughly 19,000, with 82 percent of those being females, including pregnant women.

Since the first occurrence of HIV in 1986, there have been 346,120 people diagnosed with HIV as of 2020, with 66% of those diagnosed being females and 8% being children aged 0-14.

Dr. Ayisi Addo, giving a speech at the 7th edition of the Ghana News Agency’s Tema Regional Office’s Stakeholder Engagement and Worker Appreciation Seminar, said that initially, people who tested positive and became pregnant assumed that their babies would also test positive, resulting in the babies being abandoned.

Stakeholder Engagement is a platform for state and non-state actors to address national issues, and it serves as a motivational mechanism for reporters to recognize their editorial contributions to national development in general, as well as the growth and promotion of the Tema GNA as an industrial news hub in particular.

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He said that HIV decreased fertility, and that people who tested positive but weren’t on treatment had their fertility significantly reduced as a result of the viral effect, but that with treatment, “some people were delivering healthy twins.”

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“They are giving birth to more negative infants, which is fantastic for the HIV control program,” he said, referring to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission program, in which particular interventions are given to a positive woman to prevent transmission to her baby.

However, he stated that this confidence and assurance led HIV-positive people to believe that they might have additional children, and that once this occurred, the risk of reinfection and new transmission to partners persisted.

He emphasized that the danger of transmission to babies remained because transmission might occur during conception, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding, and that if the woman did not take her meds as prescribed, the risk of transmission to babies would be significantly higher.

To address the alarming trend, he suggested that family planning services and education should be expanded to prevent unwanted births among HIV-positive women, as well as the need to encourage vulnerable females to be more proactive in dealing with potential sources of infection.

In order to further reduce the trend, he said NACP was working with collaborative agencies, including the Ministries of Gender and Social Protection, Education, and Health, to empower people to be HIV-free. He also highlighted that “contraceptive methods does not deal with STIs or HIV as it only prevents pregnancy.”

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“The aspect of Aids has evolved drastically because of medications,” Dr. Ayisi Addo said, “but education must be intensified to make sure people live normal lives and not think HIV is no longer an issue and be reckless and spread it.”

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