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HIV and AIDS continue as a public health threat in the Bono Region, Mr. Ahmed Ibrahim Bimbilla, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Technical Coordinator of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) has said.

Presently, Bono’s HIV prevalence stands at 2.27 per cent, higher than the national prevalence of 1.7 per cent, with the region having 19,281 Persons Living with HIV and AIDS (PLWAs) as of December 2022, he said.

Mr. Bimbilla said the region recorded 844 new HIV infections between January and December 2022, describing the figure as disturbing and alarming, which required a collective approach to tackling it.

He was speaking in an interview on the sidelines of an HIV and AIDS health walk organized by the Bono Branch of the Ghana HIV and AIDS Network (GHANET), a leading Civil Society Organization (CSO) in the fight against the disease in the county.

Mr. Bimbilla said the surest way to prevent the spread of the virus was adhering to preventive measures, including voluntary testing, use of condoms, as well as abstaining from pre-marital sex, multiple sexual partners and promiscuous lifestyle.

He expressed worry about continuous societal stigmatization and discrimination of PLWAs and entreated the public to desist from such attitudes.

Mr. Bimbilla indicated that due to the fear of stigma and discrimination, people suspected of living with the virus were adamant about checking to know their status.

Nonetheless, he advised everybody to do the self-testing, saying drugs were readily available for those who tested positive for HIV.

“If you are positive, that is not the end of life. Those who strictly adhere to drugs attain total viral suppression and can live longer lives as normal human beings,” Mr. Bimbilla stated.

Mr. Raphael Godlove Ahenu, the Bono Regional Chairman of GHANET, called for intensified public education on HIV and AIDS so that the public would appreciate and protect themselves against infections.

He also advised sexually active young people in particular to abstain from premarital sexual practices and those who could not control their sexual desires to protect themselves by using condoms.

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