The Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions are currently having the highest HIV rates in the country, according to a recent report.

This means that the two regions have taken over from the Brong Ahafo and Volta Regions which topped in 2016.

The revelation was contained in the 2017 HIV Sentinel Survey (HSS) and Estimates Report, jointly released by the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NACP).

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In the report, the two regions both had 3.2 percent while the Northern Region had the lowest rate of 0.6%.

The Western Region followed with 2.4% taking the third position and Volta Region occupying the fourth position with 2.3%.

The report also placed Eastern Region at the 5th position, Brong Ahafo, 6th, Central Region, 7th, and Upper West and Upper East taking the 8th and 9th positions respectively.

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About 18, 711 samples were collected nationwide for the report and drawn from 40 sentinel sites strategically located at 17 rural sites, 23 urban sites and 69 antenatal clinics within a period of four months spanning September to December 2017.

“The 2017 HSS outcome saw four regions recording prevalence above the national median prevalence of 2.1% with significant increases in the Ashanti and Greater Accra which recorded the highest prevalence of 3.2%. Greater Accra and Ashanti regions have thus taken over from the Volta and Brong Ahafo as the regions with the highest HIV prevalence in 2016,” the report stated.

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HIV prevalence among pregnant women declines

The report also found out that the prevalence of HIV among pregnant women, attending the antenatal clinic in the country is on a downward trend.

A linear trend analysis confirmed a declining epidemic since the year 2000, placing the median prevalence for 2017 at 2.1%.

The same cannot, however, be said of the young population – those aged between 15 and 24.

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The prevalence among them – the proxy for new infections, rose to 1.5 percent last year, from 1.1 percent in 2016, something which calls for urgent action by all stakeholders to protect this productive group from getting the infection.

Dr Stephen Ayisi-Addo, the Programme Manager, NACP, at a week-long annual National HIV and AIDS research conference held in Accra last week said: “surveillance on HIV forms a critical component in the national response to the epidemic.”

In the last 21 years, data from the report had been used as the primary source for national HIV and AIDS estimates for both plannings and policy interventions.