Programme Manager for the National AIDS/STI Control Programme, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo has revealed that the frequency of AIDS amongst homosexuals is about 16 times higher than in heterosexuals.
According to him, most gay men also have female partners and because they have a high prevalence rate, they end up infecting their partners.
“Homosexuals have an AIDS prevalence rate of about 18 per cent compared to the 1.7 per cent in the general population. Just like sex workers who have nonpaying customers, these gay men who also have partners of the opposite sex can spread AIDS to their partners. These people are described as a bridging population and all of them increase the probability of transmission in the general population,” he stated.
He urged people in this group living with HIV not to be shy in seeking medical help because “It is in our interest to identify these group of people and work with them. Whether they are aware or not, they are contributing to the spread. AIDS is a population thing and we must protect everyone,” he told Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show.
He believes all persons deserve treatment for AIDS without discrimination and that his outfit seeks to increase engagement with gay men and sex workers. “Just like a doctor will treat an accident victim without any discrimination, so do we treat people living with AIDS regardless of their sexuality. We seek to help them survive for health reasons and for the benefit of the general public.”
Dr. Stephen Ayisi Addo indicated that identifying these groups help mitigate the spread of the virus by providing them with necessary healthcare solutions.
With this engagement, the National AIDS/STI Control Programme can offer these groups HIV services such as testing and placing them on treatment when they test positive.
The medical professional revealed that people with the intention of embarking on any activity that may expose them to the virus can be protected with the new Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).
“Now we have the Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). First, if you were exposed to HIV through rape or a health worker contracted it from a patient, they were given post-exposure prophylaxis to prevent any infections. But now one can be given Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) before exposure and this is a preventive measure.”
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He encouraged persons in high-risk groups to immediately take Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for their own protection.
HIV continues to be a major global public health issue, having claimed 36.3 million [27.2–47.8 million] lives so far.
There is no cure for HIV infection. However, with increasing access to effective HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care, including for opportunistic infections, HIV infection has become a manageable chronic health condition, enabling people living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives.
There were an estimated 37.7 million [30.2–45.1 million] people living with HIV at the end of 2020.