Dr Koku Awoonor -Williams, Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, on Wednesday expressed concern about the high prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the Region despite the measures put in place to reduce the spread.
He said a national sentinel survey in 2010 indicated an unprecedented increase of the disease in the region, with a prevalence rate of 2.4 per cent as compared to the national average rate of 1.4 per cent.
Dr Awoonor-Williams made this known in an address at a regional HIV and AIDS conference in Bolgatanga on the theme: “Reducing HIV Prevalence rate and mitigating its effects; the role of stakeholders.”
He said the red flag areas are Bolgatanga and Bawku Municipalities and the Kassena Nankana East District.
Dr Awoonor- Williams called on stakeholders to attach seriousness to their approach in reversing the “embarrassing situation”.
He said people affected with the disease were those in their formative and productive ages of 15 to 40.
The conference aimed at highlighting the burden of HIV and AIDS in the Region and the threat it posed to socio- economic development and increase the knowledge of participants in the prevention, treatment and care of People Living with HIV and AIDS.
It also focused on how to develop key interventions or actions for implementation to minimise the effect of the disease.
Dr Awoonor-Awoonor said the core component of interventions in the Region remained testing and counselling, prevention of mother to child transmission of the virus, Anti- Retroviral Therapy, Sexually Transmitted Infections Management, Behavioural Change communication and targeted risk reduction programmes.
He said only few of the people who tested positive to HIV and AIDS returned to health facilities for counselling and treatment.
Mrs Lucy Awuni, Deputy Regional Minister, commended the Regional Health Directorate for organising the conference, which she said aimed at harnessing the collective efforts of stakeholders in the fight against the pandemic and the reduction of the menace in the Region.
She said it was the expectation of Government that no child was either born with HIV and AIDS or orphaned by the disease.