Thousands of Ghanaian women and girls currently live with HIV

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A UNAIDS report on HIV prevalence in women shows that Ghana is among countries with the highest prevalence rate in West Africa.

As many as 160,000 women and girls in Ghana are living with the virus, the report said. The 2017 report titled ‘When women lead, change happens – women advancing the end of AIDS’ provides global statistics on the prevalence of HIV among women across the world.

The report also highlights the contributions, challenges and successes of the UNAIDS in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

According to the report, 18.6 million women and girls are reported to be living with HIV in the world. The report said women accounted for 51% of people living with HIV worldwide, but with large regional differences—in western and central Africa, nearly 60% of all people living with HIV are women.

As indicated in the UNAIDS report, nearly one million girls and women were newly infected with HIV in 2015. In sub-Saharan Africa, women accounted for 56% of new HIV infections among adults.

Young women aged 15–24 accounted for 25% of new HIV infections among adults and are at particularly high risk of HIV infection, despite accounting for just 11% of the adult population.

Speaking to Wendy Laryea on TV3 Midday Live on 8 June 2017, the outgoing country representative of UNAID, Girmay Haile admitted that the fight against stigmatisation of people living with HIV/AIDS has not been successful, largely because of social norms and cultures.

‘If there is any area that we haven’t succeeded then it is that area of stigmatisation and discrimination.’

He further explained that reproductive health education and HIV/AIDS education are not friendly enough to sustain the fight against HIV/AIDS. Girmay Haile also explained that criminalisation of sex work has not help the issue either.

‘Even though we have made considerable progress we still haven’t been able to arrest the situation because they are in conflict with the law and the tendency is for them to go underground, so we are unable to reach them to offer these services to get them out of it.’

The prevalence rate among female sex traders in Ghana is 11.1%. Aside the HIV prevalence, female sex workers also face challenges as physical violence and sexual violence. Quick bullet points from the report: six million women and girls live with HIV.

Girls and women make up more than half of the 36.7 million people living with HIV. Nearly one million new HIV infections among women and girls every year. Every four minutes three young women become infected with HIV girls in the world today, the largest generation in history.

In sub-Saharan Africa, three in four new infections in 15–19 year olds are among girls. HIV incidence is 10 times higher among female sex workers than among the general population.

More than 100 adolescents (10-19 year olds) died of AIDS everyday in 2015. Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 28 girls every minute.

This story was sourced from the GhanaWeb website.

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