HIV/AIDS cases in the Ashanti Region are estimated to hit 77,859 by the close of the year, Dr Thomas Agyarko Poku, the Regional Coordinator of HIV/STI, has said.

Addressing the media in Kumasi as part of activities to mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday, Dr Poku disclosed that 44,325 cases had been recorded at the end of June, this year.

The day, which is celebrated every year on December 1, is an opportunity for the communities to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to show support for those who have been diagnosed, and to remember those who have been lost to the disease.

This year’s theme for the celebration is, ‘End Inequalities. End AIDS. End Pandemics.’

Dr Poku said the region was taking steps to embark on a sustained AIDS campaign to be able to capture those who had not reported to health facilities.

He said the prevalence rate in the region was averagely three percent, saying that districts with large populations were leading in terms of the number of cases.

The Ashanti Region, he said, had one of the highest cases in Ghana due to the huge population and the fact that it was the hub of business activities where people from across the country visited regularly to transact business.

He said Ghana had made significant progress in the fight against the disease since recording its first case in 1985 and called on all stakeholders to join the fight as a nation.

He urged the public to voluntarily check their status, especially pregnant women as a means of preventing mother-to-child transmission.

The Regional Coordinator also counsel infected persons to strictly take their drugs in order to live normal lives, adding that, couples who were HIV positive could still have children without infecting the children.

He said discrimination against infected persons remained the major challenge in the fight against the disease and urged the public to show compassion to such people and encourage others to declare their status without fear.