Tema Metro recorded 783 new HIV infections in 2023

The Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate (TMHD) recorded 783 new Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infections in 2023, an increase from the 603 recorded in 2022.

The Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV Coordinator for the TMHD, Joana Anorkor Lartey who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) said the 2023 figure was made up of 297 males and 486 females, while the 2022 figure consisted of 263 males and 340 females.

She said 757 cases out of the 2023 figure (new HIV infections) were linked to care within the period.

Ms Lartey said the increase in HIV-positive cases could be attributed to the several free testing programmes her outfit held in some communities during the year.

She emphasized that such programmes helped in identifying cases that could have been missed and therefore advised the public to take advantage of such screenings to know their status.

Ms Lartey said people could also request a free self-test kit from the various facilities to conduct a test on themselves.

The TB and HIV Coordinator said knowing one’s status was not a death sentence but rather an opportunity to be put on treatment early for those found to be positive.

Touching on TB, she disclosed that a total of 154 cases were registered in the metropolis between January and December 2023, with 47 of them being pediatric TB cases.

Out of the 154 TB cases, 129 were presumed TB cases from out-patient department (OPD) attendants that were tested of which the results turned out positive, adding that, the OPD was one of the indicators for screening for potential TB cases.

She said even though her outfit was able to achieve most of its objectives for the year, such as creating awareness in the communities about TB and HIV and intensifying case finding through monthly screening and weekly home visits, they encountered some challenges.

She said the challenges included lack of funding for monitoring and supervision, the absence of zeal in some staff towards work, and the late entry of reports.

She thanked the GNA, Obonu FM, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority and other stakeholders for supporting her unit to reach out to the public with the TB/HIV message and screening, respectively.

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