More than 50 percent of the about four thousand Persons Living with HIV and AIDS (PLHIV) are not undergoing treatment while more than 40 percent of those under treatment have been ‘lost to follow-up’.
This according to the Ghana Aids Commission, GAC, means such people for a number of reasons have refused to visit the Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) Centres for a period longer than three months.
The Upper West Regional Technical Coordinator for the GAC, Dramani Yakubu speaking to Radio Ghana expressed worry about the current trend.
He said the disruption of treatment for a long period might cause a patient’s health to deteriorate or even lead to death; a common occurrence for patients who have been ‘lost to follow up’.
The 2019 national estimates of Persons Living With HIV was drawn from the 2018 HIV Sentinel Survey National Population database, data from the ART centres and the Geographical Epidemiological Survey.
This is the first time the estimates have been provided to all the 16 regions in Ghana.
The 2019 national estimates of people living with HIV indicate a national HIV prevalence of 1.69 with that of the Upper West Region being 0.83.
This makes the Upper West Region one of the regions with the lowest HIV prevalence placing 11 out of 16.
The Upper West Regional Technical Coordinator for the GAC Dramani Yakubu disclosed that the region had 248 new infections.
He said the stigma is still a major cause for people shying away from knowing their status.
Mr Yakubu was unhappy about what he termed ‘self-transfer’ of patients noting that when this happens it disrupts the data collection process of the Commission.
Mr Yakubu, said the Commission would continue to sensitize residents to the need to know their status.