HIV/AIDS hits Ghana's middle class

The Country Director of UNAIDS, Mr Girmay Haile said available data indicates that new infections of HIV and AIDS among the middle class and urban working population in Ghana are increasing at an alarming rate.

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“The demography of Ghana is rapidly becoming urban, with majority of people living in urban centres, and HIV is becoming an urban epidemic,” he told the Daily Graphic.

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He said data from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2014 of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) showed that married couples and students, especially those in the university, were the groups which had the most unprotected sex but were not willing to know their HIV status.

The Survey

The survey was conducted among people between 15 and 49 years.

Respondents were asked questions on HIV prevention, awareness of modes of HIV transmission and behaviours that could prevent the spread of HIV.

The survey showed that among the respondents, 78 percent of men and 52 percent of women had never been tested.

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One percent of the women reported that they had had two or more partners in the past 12 months.

Among the women who had two or more partners in the past 12 months, 11 percent reported using a condom during their last sexual intercourse.

Fourteen percent of the men aged between 15 and 49 reported that they had two or more partners in the past 12 months, with 19 per cent revealing that they used a condom during their last sexual intercourse.

New Infections

Mr Haile said that new infections among key populations, including sex workers and truck drivers, had now reduced due to the numerous campaigns those targeted populations received.

He, however, indicated that “Today, we are seeing a high number of despondent couples,” with many of them having “multiple sex partners outside their marital homes.”

The Country Director expressed regret about the situation and believed that if earlier warnings by the UNAIDS about a possible outbreak of the disease in the urban areas and cities had been taken seriously, Ghana would not have been in this situation.

Analysis

The revelations are not surprising, especially when many married couples continue to have unprotected sex outside of their marriages. Education and campaign on the disease should be directed towards this population. We fail to do so and several of us, especially those in the urban areas will be doomed.

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