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Tuesday 15 November 2005
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GHANA: HIV infection rates rising in cities, survey shows


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


ACCRA, 11 February (PLUSNEWS) - Ghanaian health experts began reviewing measures to control HIV/AIDS at a first ever National Research Conference on Wednesday following a new survey which showed that HIV prevalance rates were rising in the country's main cities.

Ghana's National AIDS Control Programme (NACP), which conducts Ghana's HIV/AIDS Sentinel Surveys, determined in 2002 that the HIV prevalence rate in Ghana was 3.4 percent, one of the lowest in West Africa.

However, the first results of the 2003 Sentinel Survey, disclosed on Wednesday showed that HIV infection rates were on the rise, especially in big cities.

"Already six of our major cities - representing 27 percent of the monitoring sites - have registered prevalence rates above the five per cent referential point.

This means infections are increasing and we should use research to find out why this is happening," Sakyi Amoa Direct General of the Ghana AIDS commission told PlusNews.

The new findings of 2003 Sentinel Survey are still being analysed and will be published in full next month.

"Though current interventions are doing well," Amoa said, "we have to ensure that research findings conducted locally into the epidemic are published and made to impact on the country's national AIDS response."

The three-day conference will place a lot of emphasis on the provision of locally developed herbal drugs to treat infections related to HIV/AIDS infections, besides analysing the recent provision of antiretroviral drugs in Ghana.

This interest in traditional medicines follows the success of a research project at the Scientific Research Centre in Ghana's Eastern Region, where HIV prevalence rates of 7.9 percent are among the highest in the country.

Samples of traditional medicine from five herbalists were administered to 96 patients with full-blown AIDS to treat opportunistic infections associated with the disease. Their condition improved as a result.

Ghana's Presidential Advisor on HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health, Professor Fred Sai, said more research should be conducted into the efficacy of herbal tretments and other locally developed methods of managing the disease.

In 2002, the United States' aid organisation, USAID began a limited antiretroviral treatment programme in eastern Ghana.

[ENDS]




 
Recent GHANA Reports
Government ploughs ahead with plans to produce AIDS drugs locally,  31/Aug/05
AIDS treatment on rise, but stigma still around,  17/Aug/05
Single battle-plan to hit both TB and HIV/AIDS,  19/May/05
HIV-AIDS on decline for first time in 5 years, survey shows,  15/Apr/05
Local employers start to care for their HIV-positive staff,  7/Apr/05
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