Over 40, 000 youth aged 15 to 24 years in Ghana are living with HIV. This is according to the Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Kyeremeh Atuahene.
He gave these troubling statistics at the Joy Christian Forum dubbed, “Chastity and Morality: How are the Youth Staying Chaste in Today’s World?” last week Monday.
The forum sought to discuss and find answers to some of the thorny immoral issues plaguing the youth in recent times due to scarcity of jobs and exposure to all kinds of financial and sexual pressures as well as various forms of immorality.
According to Dr Atuahene, out of a cumulative figure of 355,000 Ghanaians living with the virus since the first case was recorded, 11 per cent comprise the youth.
“Although it’s the commission’s aim to reduce infections by 17% every year, we are unable to because of hikes in immoral activities,” Dr Atťuahene revealed.
He, however, admitted that they were able to reduce infections by 8 per cent in 2022.
“When we talk about HIV, we focus more on new infections because the more people get infected, the more we keep adding on to the existing number,” the AIDs Commission boss stated.
He explained that more women contract the virus because their genitalia is a receptacle. Moreso, the vagina lining and the tissue beneath it are quite fragile, making women more susceptible to HIV infection.
Dr Atuahene also mentioned that people who have untreated sexually transmitted diseases have higher risks of getting HIV and as a matter of fact, 10 to 13 per cent of people with STIs have HIV.
“If you have chlamydia, chancroid, or any ulcerative infections then you become even more vulnerable. When you sleep with anybody, because you have some ulcers down there, you’re most likely to get infected,” he explained.
Dr Atuahene therefore encouraged the youth to stay away from immoral behaviours that could endanger their lives.
The forum was headlined by revered and knowledgeable family life and youth counsellors such as Elder Amos Kevin-Annan, Convener of Singles in 3-D Summits, Rev Mrs Catherine Onwioduokit, a family life counsellor and Founding President, Family Renaissance International, as well as Ps. Andrew Yarquah, a pastor and counsellor based in Kumasi.
Host of Joy FM’s Christian Talkshow, “A Walk With Jesus” and daily devotion, “Joy Time In His Presence” and Prayer Line, Ps. Ato Acquah moderated the discussions.
The program was aired on Joy FM and all Joy social media handles.