Multiple pregnant women have higher HIV prevalence rate – Dr Ayisi Addo

Tema, Nov. 12, GNA - The 2020 HIV Sentinel Survey conducted by the National AIDS/HIV Control Programme has revealed that women who had been pregnant more than once had a higher prevalence compared to first time pregnancy, Dr Stephen Ayisi Addo, Programme Manager for the Programme has stated.

Dr Ayisi Addo said the HIV sentinel survey is conducted annually to monitor the trends of infection in Ghana, since the first case of HIV was discovered in the country in 1988.

“The sentinel survey is conducted among pregnant women attending antenatal services over a 12-week period and the prevalence of HIV, the existing number of cases in that population and that data is used to determine what the prevalence should be in the general population because the general population is made up of children, males and females (both pregnant and non-pregnant),” he said.

Dr Ayisi Addo disclosed this at the seventh stakeholders’ engagement platform organized by the Ghana News Agency, Tema Regional Office with the aim of engaging both state and non-state organizations on national and topical issues.

He said when the survey was conducted, focus was on pregnancy and HIV and it was realised that there was an increasing number of cases in pregnant women, also a person who had been pregnant more than once had a higher prevalence rate compared to first pregnancy.

He explained that this was partly because there had been an increase confidence in fertility among persons who were HIV positive.

Dr Ayisi Addo said hitherto, if any person tested positive and they became pregnant, they assumed that their baby would automatically become positive leading to abandonment of the babies sometimes.

He added that even though HIV in itself suppressed fertility and persons who tested positive and were not on treatment had their fertility robustness reduced due to the viral effect, noting however that with treatment, some persons were even delivering twins who were healthy.

He said because of the elimination of mother to child transmission programme where certain interventions were given to a positive mother to prevent transmission to her baby, they were giving birth to more negative babies, which he noted was good for the HIV Control Programme.

“But that confidence is making them think that, they can have more babies and once that happens, the risk still remains because transmission can occur during sex, labour and delivery and during breast feeding, and if the woman is not adherent on medication, then the risk is also higher,” he explained.

Dr Ayisi Addo said to deal with that, there was the need to provide family planning services, so they do not come out with unintended pregnancies.