The joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has revealed that below 10 percent of Ghana’s middle class use condoms.
According to the United Nation’s subsidiary responsible for the fight against HIV/AIDS, research data available to them indicate that in Ghana, there is very low patronage of condoms.
Girmay Haille, the country coordinator of the UNAIDS told Citi News in an interview that more sex workers use condoms than the other youth groups who generally fall in the middle class.
“When you look at specific population groups like sex workers, condom use is now 90 percent that is why you see that sex work based AIDS infections have dropped from 80percent to 12 percent and still declining.
But among the youth based in the urban centres in the universities, youth who are employed generally within the middle class the condom use is below ten percent,” he explained.
He described this as worrying and surprising because persons in the middle class are more educated and are privy to the benefits of condom use.
For the UNAIDS, another worrying trend is the rate at which Ghanaians are testing for HIV because data available indicates that over the last five years, the testing rate has been on a downturn.
This situation is being complicated by the increasing rate of urbanization, Girmay contends.
With an urban population of 50.9 percent, Ghana’s dividends in the fight against AIDS will be derailed with the low rate of condom use in the urban areas.
The successes Ghana has attained as of 2012 is reflected in the 66 percent reduction in new infections and a reduction of 73 percent in infections among new born babies coupled with deaths due to AIDS being around 53percent.
For Mr. Girmay, Ghana’s response and success rate until recently has been among the top five responses worldwide and called on the Ghana to jealously guard this record.
He further opined that rapid urbanization and the low rate of testing shows that there are many Ghanaians living with AIDS who do not know they are infected; a situation which can lead to the complications of re-infection and easy spread of the virus.
For the UNAIDS country coordinator, the recent trend where there are many Ghanaians who do not know their status or use condoms and yet have multiple sex partners is a recipe for disaster .
Girmay Haille mentioned that the disturbing available statistics are the reason why the intervention campaign “Protect the Goal” campaign in Ghana was set-up around these messages of condom use, reducing sex partners and knowing ones HIV status.
By: Raymond Acquah/citifmonline.com/Ghana