Risks Factors for Coerced Sex Among Female Youth in Ghana

Risks Factors for Coerced Sex Among Female Youth in Ghana Image

High rates of coerced sex among female youth in Ghana remains a huge public health concern. 

Sexual victimization is recognized as a human right violation and also as the main threat to the wellness of females.

It’s experiences have adverse mental, physical, and behavioral consequences that have been reported by studies across the world.

The most common and well-recorded consequences of sexual victimization are the effects on adolescent female reproductive and sexual health, including  STIs and HIV infection, unwanted pregnancies, and pregnancy complications (miscarriage, stillbirth, and low birth weight).

Identifying the risk factors that contribute to coerced sex among female youth will help us prevent the consequences and long-lasting negative impact of sexual victimization.

The common risk factors include:

Relationship Status

An intimate relationship is one of the primary sexual coercion risk factors. According to research, coerced sex is perpetuated with known victims, particularly those partners in intimate relationships and not strangers. 

Various studies have linked characteristics like age, power, and socioeconomic differentials between partners as the factors increasing the risks of coerced sex in intimate relationships. However, there is no evidence suggesting that a romantic relationship can increase the risk of coerced sex.

 The prevalence of sexual victimization in women with a history of sexual activity or multiple partners is high. Though most research excludes inexperienced females, yet they’re also at risk of coerced sex.

But this is understandable because this exclusion might be attributed to school status. Many in-school females are at a lower risk of being coerced into sex than those out-of-school.

School enrolment, act as a powerful impediment to the formation of intimate relationships. Even though schools provide a suitable environment to meet males and form relationships.

Multiple studies show that enrolled females are less likely to get involved in sex or be in romantic relationships.

Family Structure and Process

Family structure and process may increase or decrease the female risk against coerced sex. This depends directly on the family relationship experience.

Many studies have focused on one aspect of the family process and that’s behavioral control. This aspect includes monitoring of female youths by parents or other adult family members.

Also, it includes house rules and how consistently the rules are being enforced. Research suggests that behavioral control and parental monitoring prevents sexual activity among U.S. adolescents.

In Ghana and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, studies have found that monitoring by both parents and other family members has resulted in reduced risk of sexual activities among the youth.

Therefore, closely monitored female youths are less likely to get involved in romantic activities. Besides, if they do get involved, behavioral control might limit the opportunities of male partners to coerce them into having sex.

Societal Factors

Social factors such as male dominance promote gender inequalities, which consistently reinforces the male perception of violence against females.  This increases the risk of sexual victimization.

Tradition norms involving gender roles, the existence of a philosophy of male sexual entitlement, the social norm that supports sexual assault,  and weak legal sanction against sexual assault in African countries need to be addressed to prevent victimization.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4493860/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15590381/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16566848/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11389258/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17027732/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4493860/#R28

Syphilis Rates Are A Major Concern for Women to Start Seeking Antenatal Care in Ghana

Syphilis Rates Are A Major Concern for Women to Start Seeking Antenatal Care in Ghana Image

If a mother is infected with STIs, she risks transmitting the infection onto the unborn child. If not treated, women risk a miscarriage, birth defects, early delivery, stillbirth, illnesses, disabilities, or even death of a newborn.

Antenatal care, commonly referred to as prenatal care is a healthcare preventive that focuses on consistent check-ups by allowing midwives or doctors to prevent and treat any health complications to ensure a safe pregnancy.

Even though there is an available and effective treatment for anyone with STIs, particularly syphilis, more than 10 million people are still infected with this infection across the globe. 90% of all cases of newly infected come from developing countries, especially Ghana.

The Prevalence of Syphilis and the Need for Antenatal Care in Ghana

In Africa, based on records from 2012, the prevalence of syphilis was recoded to be at 0.2%, with Ghana being among one of the most infected with a prevalence of 8.5% in the metropolis, 4.5% in Kumasi and 3.9% in Accra. 

Based on the World Bank’s statistical analysis from 2015, the prevalence of syphilis of women attending prenatal care has increased by 1.2% from 2012 and is stated to be at 2.7% in 2015. Compared to the reported 6.1% in 2009, this is a drastic decline. 

How Many Women in Ghana Actually Seek Antenatal Care?

Screening and treating pregnant women for a syphilis infection has long been the main focus for doctors. In an effort to stop the transmission of the infection, women have been advised to receive antenatal care. 

Based on a survey for the reproductive and sexual health in Ghana, particularly in Accra, of all the women interviewed, 23% reported having or recognizing STI or UTI infections. But only 7% stated seeking preventive care. Due to the low interest in antenatal care, only 53% of Ghanaian women receive proper care during childbirth by a skilled medical professional. 

Why Don’t Some Women Get Proper Antenatal Care in Ghana?

Pregnant women in Ghana often face multiple difficulties when it comes to seeking antenatal care. For many women, this is a controversial treatment. Due to cultural limitations and distrust in modernized medicine, women still give birth at home.

But, for those who do want to gain access to antenatal care, they experience multiple issues, some of which are: 

  • Insufficient funds
  • Lack of a female treatment provider
  • No permission to get treatment

In Q5 of 2015, 22.7% of women stated they needed more money to receive this treatment, and without an adequate income, these women couldn’t receive the antenatal care they needed. 

Another issue was the gender of the treatment provider and permission to get treatment. 19.5% of all pregnant women in Ghana didn’t want to be treated by male treatment providers and preferred females instead, while 4.1% didn’t get permission.

Despite the efforts to help women safely deliver their child, for many the “modernized” version of childbirth has not made much of an impact. With common STIs, such as syphilis still posing as a serious issue for women in Ghana, antenatal care is crucial for safe childbirth and a healthy baby. 

References

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=11898

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-019-3967-6

https://tradingeconomics.com/ghana/prevalence-of-syphilis-percent-of-women-attending-antenatal-care-wb-data.html

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01459740.2001.9966199?src=recsys

Risk Factors for a Syphilis Infection Among Pregnant Women in Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District, Ghana

Risk Factors for a Syphilis Infection Among Pregnant Women in Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District, Ghana Image

By identifying the risk factors of the common STDs, we will be able to raise awareness for their existence and over time, work to eliminate them. With that, we can act to decline the STD rates on a global level, with a focus on where those rates are the highest. That is exactly what a group of researchers has done back in 2019, trying to identify the risk factors for existing syphilis infection among pregnant women.

What are the syphilis risk factors among pregnant women in Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa District in Ghana?

Syphilis is one of the common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is caused by a bacteria called Treponema pallidum. Like any other STD, syphilis as well is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex. 

The first and most characteristic symptoms of existing syphilis infection is a painless sore that can appear anywhere on the sexual organs, rectum, lips, or inside the mouth. People usually fail to notice this first symptom and continue to live with the existing infection, eventually helping it spread if they engage in unprotected sexual intercourse in the near future.

Although we have penicillin since the 1990s, there is a continuous spread of syphilis on an international level, with more than 10 million individuals being diagnosed with an existing syphilis infection each year. Of course, the prevalence of syphilis is higher in high burden countries and rural areas such as Africa, especially in the Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana, Africa.

The overall prevalence of syphilis in Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana has been estimated to be around 3.2% with a higher prevalence among women, about 5.7%, as compared to men, among which the prevalence is around 1.7%. The prevalence seems to be dangerously high among pregnant women with a prevalence of 1.6% in 2016, which poses its own threats knowing how syphilis can be easily transmitted to the baby in the womb during pregnancy.

But it is not only the congenital syphilis infection that we need to fear. Other complications such as stillbirth, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, and neonatal death are possible as well. In fact, syphilis during pregnancy is considered to be the second leading cause of stillbirth on a global level.

Because of the high prevalence rates, researchers have conducted a study that was later published in 2019, with the hopes of identifying the exact risk factors for developing a syphilis infection during pregnancy among pregnant women in the Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana, Africa. Identification of the risk factors can help to later focus on their elimination and improvement so that the rates can significantly decline.

One of the risk factors was found to be married since syphilis infection was more common among couples that have been married as compared to those individuals who have been single, although the difference was not significant. The prevalence of syphilis was high in those who have reported a history of coerced sexual intercourse and those who have engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse of any kind with multiple partners. Living in rural areas such as the Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana, Africa played one of the biggest roles as a significant risk factor.

Conclusion

As it turns out, being in a marriage, living in a rural area, and having a history of coerced sexual intercourse play the role of the biggest risk factors for syphilis in the Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana, Africa where there has been a high syphilis prevalence, especially in women and in pregnant women.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5973824/

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-019-3967-6#ref-CR5

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6527824/

https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/35/Supplement_2/S200/316361

https://www.who.int/gho/sti/en/

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-019-3967-6

The Lack of Syphilis Screening Practices for Blood Donations in Ghana Put Patients at Risk

The Lack of Syphilis Screening Practices for Blood Donations in Ghana Put Patients at Risk Image

Millions of people every year are exposed to potentially life-threatening risks from blood donations. While blood transfusions are meant to save a life, when an individual receives unsafe blood, it can have some serious consequences. 

Syphilis can be transferred from blood-to-blood donations since it is a blood-borne infection. If left untreated, this infection can damage the eyes, bones, brain, and aorta. In Ghana, syphilis is a widespread infection, and getting infected with it through blood transfusions is more common than people realize.

Dangerous High Rates of Syphilis Recorded in Blood Donations in Ghana

Based on statistics, blood donations have a high chance of transmitting syphilis to patients who receive infected blood transfusions. Ghana, however, has the highest proportion rate of syphilis-infected blood donations in all sub-Saharan African region.

In a survey from 2014 to 2015, 149 facilities that offer blood transfusions in Ghana have been analyzed to see whether or not they test their donated blood for STIs infections, syphilis to be exact. Based on the results, 48% of these facilities did test their blood samples, but the rest didn’t have such protocols.

In Ghana, there are ten administrative regions, each with its own hospital. But the access to these facilities is not distributed equally. In poorer districts, there are fewer health facilities and less access to adequate blood transfusions.

Despite global recommendations, more than 50% of all the facilities in Ghana that provide blood transfusions, don’t screen their donated blood for syphilis. This common practice is a major health concern and can have serious consequences. 

Why Are Blood Transfusions in Ghana Poorly Regulated?

Each country uses its own techniques for syphilis screening practices depending on the situation, prevalence of the infection, influence, infrastructure, and resource capacity. 

Even though Ghana has access to standard screening syphilis guidelines, they are mostly not followed since it’s very difficult to implement these guidelines locally.

Due to the lack of standard procedures for effective transfusions, this practice is not as efficient and safe as it should be. There are many reasons why this practice is so poorly regulated, and some of the most influential ones are:

  • Under-developed programs
  • Inadequate syphilis screening equipment 
  • Difficulties implementing such practices on the local market
  • Lack of resources

According to the Ministry of Health in Ghana, the program that ensures quality and safety for blood transfusions is under-developed, and most of the health facilities don’t have adequate equipment to carry out testing.

In almost all African countries, including Ghana, many patients use local blood banks to buy whatever is cheaper and in stock. 

But, since testing the blood sample for syphilis requires resources and costs more, facilities are not willing to spend that much if they want to sell these transfusions on the open local market.

Conclusion

Syphilis is a serious infection for many people in Ghana. To avoid transmitting this infection and potential health complications, it’s crucial for all health facilities in Ghana to test their blood before administrating it to patients. But, until this procedure becomes common practice, it’s recommended that individuals ask their transfusions to get tested before they agree to take them. 

Reference

https://www.ijidonline.com/article/S1201-9712(15)00302-1/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3336891/

https://www.oatext.com/prevalence-of-syphilis-in-blood-donors-in-angola-from-2011-to-2016.php

How Common is HIV and Syphilis Co-Infection in Ghana, Africa?

How Common is HIV and Syphilis Co-Infection in Ghana, Africa?

HIV and syphilis are dangerous enough when they appear alone, but even more dangerous when they appear together, causing a co-infection to occur, especially in pregnant women, thinking on all of the things that can go wrong with both the mother’s and the baby’s health. in the following article, we will look a bit deeper in the prevalence of a HIV/syphilis co-infection in Ghana, Africa and discuss the risks that an infection of that kind brings.

HIV and syphilis co-infection

HIV, short from human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that damages the human immune system, causing the unfortunately well-known disease called AIDS. HIV is most commonly transmitted due to unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, and anal, while it can also be transmitted through bodily fluids such as saliva, blood, semen, vaginal and rectal fluids.

Currently, there is a dangerously high HIV prevalence around the world, with an especially high rise in the number of HIV cases in Ghana, Africa. As of 2014, there have been roughly 150,000 people infected with HIV in Africa alone, while it has been suggested that around 91% of the children infected with HIV worldwide are living in Africa.

But it is not only HIV whose rates are high in Africa. There are other STDs to be mentioned as well, with syphilis being one of them. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a bacteria known as Treponema palladium. This infection is also transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, with dangerously high rates on an international level, and approximately 8.5% prevalence of syphilis in Cape Coast, Ghana.

The prevalence of HIV and syphilis co-infection in Ghana, Africa

What is frightening about HIV and syphilis is that they often appear in a sort of co-infection, being strongly linked with one another. Although syphilis alone is highly treatable thanks to the discovery of penicillin, it increases the incidence of HIV infections on an international level.

Syphilis and HIV can be transmitted during pregnancy from the infected mother to her baby in the womb, increasing the risk of neonatal death, spontaneous abortus, low birth weight, and congenital syphilis and HIV infection among many others. Because of the high probability of an existing HIV/syphilis infection during pregnancy, it is of vital importance that every pregnant woman is tested for both HIV and syphilis as early as the first visit to the doctor’s office as well as all throughout the different stages of pregnancy.

A study published in the Journal of Infection investigated the seroprevalence of HIV/syphilis co-infection in Ghana, Africa. The results showed that the seroprevalence of HIV/syphilis co-infection is approximately 18.4%, which serves as a relatively high seroprevalence. The researchers continued to explain how early testing and detecting in addition to proper treatment in the cases where there is a positive presence of HIV or syphilis or a co-infection for that matter, contributes to the reduction of the risk of these two infections being further spread among the population.

The study also revealed that when there is an HIV/ syphilis co-infection, the patients usually present with the first HIV symptoms a lot earlier, as compared with those patients where there is only HIV infection being present. This means that by raising awareness, we can work to improve the chances of these patients noticing and reporting their symptoms in the early stages, eventually proceeding to gain access to proper treatment with penicillin and ART (antiretroviral therapy).

Conclusion

In the last couple of years, more and more people in Ghana, Africa, as well as all around the world, have been struggling with an HIV/syphilis co-infection. This co-infection is known to bring various risks and reduce the quality of life of these individuals, but what is even more dangerous is the impact that this co-infection has on the health of pregnant women and their babies.

References

http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/images/news_release/2019/HIV%20Press%20Release%20-%20GHANA.pdf

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0953620508001301

http://www.panafrican-med-journal.com/content/article/33/252/full/

https://www.journalofinfection.com/article/S0163-4453(10)00277-X/pdf

Syphilis Infection in Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District, Ghana

Asikuma Odoben Brakwa District

By identifying the risk factors of the common STDs, we will be able to raise awareness for their existence and over time, work to eliminate them. With that, we can act to decline the STD rates on a global level, with a focus on where those rates are the highest. That is exactly what a group of researchers has done back in 2019, trying to identify the risk factors for existing syphilis infection among pregnant women.

What are the syphilis risk factors among pregnant women in Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa District in Ghana?

Syphilis is one of the common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is caused by a bacteria called Treponema pallidum. Like any other STD, syphilis as well is transmitted through unprotected sexual intercourse, including oral, vaginal, and anal sex.

The first and most characteristic symptoms of existing syphilis infection is a painless sore that can appear anywhere on the sexual organs, rectum, lips, or inside the mouth. People usually fail to notice this first symptom and continue to live with the existing infection, eventually helping it spread if they engage in unprotected sexual intercourse in the near future.

Although we have penicillin since the 1990s, there is a continuous spread of syphilis on an international level, with more than 10 million individuals being diagnosed with an existing syphilis infection each year. Of course, the prevalence of syphilis is higher in high burden countries and rural areas such as Africa, especially in the Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana, Africa.

The overall prevalence of syphilis in Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana has been estimated to be around 3.2% with a higher prevalence among women, about 5.7%, as compared to men, among which the prevalence is around 1.7%. The prevalence seems to be dangerously high among pregnant women with a prevalence of 1.6% in 2016, which poses its own threats knowing how syphilis can be easily transmitted to the baby in the womb during pregnancy.

But it is not only the congenital syphilis infection that we need to fear. Other complications such as stillbirth, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, and neonatal death are possible as well. In fact, syphilis during pregnancy is considered to be the second leading cause of stillbirth on a global level.

Because of the high prevalence rates, researchers have conducted a study that was later published in 2019, with the hopes of identifying the exact risk factors for developing a syphilis infection during pregnancy among pregnant women in the Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana, Africa. Identification of the risk factors can help to later focus on their elimination and improvement so that the rates of syphilis can significantly decline.

One of the risk factors was found to be married since syphilis infection was more common among couples that have been married as compared to those individuals who have been single, although the difference was not significant. The prevalence of syphilis was high in those who have reported a history of coerced sexual intercourse and those who have engaged in unprotected sexual intercourse of any kind with multiple partners. Living in rural areas such as the Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana, Africa played one of the biggest roles as a significant risk factor.

Biggest risk factors

As it turns out, being in a marriage, living in a rural area, and having a history of coerced sexual intercourse play the role of the biggest risk factors for syphilis in the Aiskuma Odoben Brakwa district in Ghana, Africa where there has been a high syphilis prevalence, especially in women and in pregnant women.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5973824/
https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-019-3967-6#ref-CR5
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6527824/
https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/35/Supplement_2/S200/316361
https://www.who.int/gho/sti/en/
https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-019-3967-6

How long it takes for STD symptoms to appear or show up on a Test?

STD Testing

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a common occurrence across the globe, particularly in developing countries such as Ghana. The public stigma associated with getting tested leaves sexually active people at high risk of developing some STD or unknowingly transmitting it to someone else. Sexually active men and women should get tested at least once a year and even frequently, so if they have multiple partners. Most people wonder how long it takes for symptoms of STD to show up or when they get detected through testing, and we are about to provide the answers. Read on to learn more.

How long it takes for STD to show up?

At first glance, it may seem logical that as soon as STD-causing bacteria (or virus) enter the body, you can get a test that would detect it. However, the processing route is more complicated than that. Generally speaking, we get infected when bacteria or other pathogens enter our bodies. Every infection has its own timeframe for susceptibility or incubation time, and STDs are not the exception.

For some STDs, the body starts producing antibodies to counteract infection and develops symptoms in a matter of a few days, but for others, it may take up to several months for the first signs to appear. Below, you can see the incubation period for various STDs:

  • Chlamydia – 7-21 days
  • Genital herpes – 2-12 days
  • Gonorrhea – 1-14 days
  • Syphilis – 3 weeks – 20 years depending on the type
  • Oral herpes – 2-12 days
  • Trichomoniasis – 5-28 days

During the incubation period, a person may not experience symptoms at all. Bear in mind that some people don’t develop any symptoms at all. So, if you’re in a high-risk group of developing some STD, it’s a good idea to get tested, but not too early as you may test negative i.e., the STD might not be detected. Wait for the incubation period to end or consult a doctor who will advise you regarding the right time to get tested.

When to get retested?

People with some STDs may need to get retested after a while to make sure their infection has been cured completely. Some patients don’t need to get retested, though. Here are a few examples:

  • Chlamydia – 3 months
  • Genital and oral herpes – no retesting necessary (lifelong infections)
  • Gonorrhea – 3 months
  • Syphilis – 4 weeks
  • Trichomoniasis – 2 weeks

Why get tested?

Most people underestimate the importance of getting tested. The danger of STDs is that they don’t always induce symptoms, and it’s easy to spread them to sex partners. When left untreated, they can cause a number of complications. Therefore, make sure to get tested and protect your health, general wellbeing, and partner. Nowadays, it’s easy to learn whether you have STD because it’s possible to get tests online and do the whole thing in the comfort of your home.

Every type of STD has its own incubation time during which people usually don’t notice any symptoms. Testing too early could yield negative results even if the person has STD, so test at an appropriate time if you suspect to have some sexually-transmitted disease. Or even better, get tested for STD once a year and even more frequently if you have multiple sex partners.

References

https://www.healthtestingcenters.com/how-long-should-i-wait-test-std/

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/sexual-health/how-soon-do-sti-symptoms-appear/

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-long-does-it-take-for-std-to-show-up

The True Impact of Chlamydia Through History in Africa

Chlamydia in africa

Chlamydia is a tremendous public health concern across the world. But, there is one particular continent that has long been struggling with this common sexually transmitted disease, and that is Africa.

Based on statistics, around 50 million women across the globe carry this infection, but 34 million of them live in Africa, particularly the southeast and Sub-Saharan region. Research estimates that the 10% decline in population growth in this region is the result of chlamydia infection, while 30% is caused by gonorrhea.

While chlamydia may not be the primary cause of population decline, it does have a heavy impact on people’s lives. Those who fail to get treated are vulnerable to pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

Even though this infection can be easily avoided and treated, there are around 5 million newly reported cases of infection every single year, and most of them are recorded in Africa. Here, we will talk about the history of this infection, how it’s being managed today, and analyze the statistics on why chlamydia is still so prevalent in Africa.

The History of Chlamydia in Africa

Chlamydia has deep roots, and to better understand these roots, we have to start from the very beginning. Prior to the colonial period, there was one particular region in Africa that stood out from the rest. It was the first region ever to be introduced to sexually transmitted diseases, and that is south Ghana.

Ghana is located in the western part of Africa, with direct access to the Atlantic Ocean. Its strategic location and land made it popular among European settlers. At this time, the settlers forced their way into society and brought the sexually transmitted infections, like chlamydia, to the African region. These infections were never before seen or experienced by the African population.

By the 1920s, syphilis and gonorrhea became widespread with more than 1500 cases recorded in the southern part of the country, records show. Many years later, in 1946, with the arrival of troops and influx of laborers during World War II, tens of thousands of newly recorded cases of various STDs became a serious problem for the region.

At this time, there was no one responsible for controlling the STDs in the country or the continent, which led people to seek other unsafe treatment alternatives to manage the symptoms. Those infected purchased sulpha drugs on the black market.

These drugs were extremely dangerous to their overall health but were the only method of treatment available to the mass population. It wasn’t until 1986 that government officials finally turned their attention to managing STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and AIDS.

In an effort to put an end to these serious diseases, in 1992, STD control programs, treatments, detection, and prevention methods were finally initiated.

How Is Chlamydia Managed Today?

In 2008, Africa gained access to top-quality STD programs for effective treatment. These treatments are available all across the continent, and since then, around 44% of those infected have received proper treatment. Based on the records from decades ago, this is a considerable improvement.

Now, many health practitioners and volunteers participate in programs to raise awareness of STDs to help those infected better understand their infection. These efforts have paid off, and since 1999, chlamydia infections have dramatically decreased. With the help of counseling, now 85% of people are aware of the existence of STDs, and many of them have access to adequate treatment.

Why Is Chlamydia Still a Serious Problem in Africa?

For many years, the world has had access to proper STD treatments and preventive methods, but in Africa, these bacterial infections still remain a pressing concern. Based on records, Africa is the number one most infected region with STDs. It’s so prevalent that 14 million children have lost one or both of their parents due to these infections.

There are four major reasons that hinder the effects of STD treatment programs in Africa, and these are:

  • Inadequate Infrastructure
  • Lack of funding
  • Insufficient workforce specifically trained to adapt to this environment
  • Discrimination

Many infected have yet to try to manage their disease or attend programs. Most of the people who don’t get counseling, medications, or don’t use preventions are males. Results have shown that these programs and coverages are not enough to control the epidemic.

Most of the population in Africa is poor and can’t afford any vaccines or medications for treatment. Also, health facilities that offer chlamydia treatment services are far away from rural neighborhoods and are often situated near more populated cities or towns. This makes the facilities less accessible for a huge percentage of the infected population.

But, even if all individuals had access to these treatment facilities, health practitioners will often face one major problem, and that is the discriminatory law.

People who live in Africa are very discriminating towards individuals who are found HIV positive or carry any STDs. Those who carry the infection and publically announce it can get humiliated in front of their village or tribe. Based on statistics, women often carry the blame for spreading infection, such as chlamydia, regardless of who actually transmitted the infection.

Out of fear of being tested positive, those infected would avoid getting tested or receive proper treatment. This is something many health practitioners are unequipped to deal with.

Chlamydia has a long history, particularly in Africa

Africa has long been the most infected continent with sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia. Due to poverty, lack of information, proper education, medical facilities, and treatments, these infections have become an epidemic. This is how the bacterial infection has affected the entire continent and how it’s managed today.

To cope with such a serious problem, people should first learn about these infections. That way, they can overcome the discrimination and prejudice they have about these infections. However, this is something that can prove difficult in the African region. Despite the success in treating these infections, chlamydia still remains a serious issue for most of the population.

References

https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-018-3477-y

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7705861

http://data.unaids.org/pub/report/2009/jc1700_epi_update_2009_en.pdf

https://www.avert.org/professionals/hiv-around-world/sub-saharan-africa/overview

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chlamydia_trachomatis

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30279-7/fulltext

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8511712

HIV in Ghana is on the rise

HIV information

Ghana has been struggling to reduce the number of HIV infections for years. In this region, there are around 150,000 people with HIV. In 2014, the HIV prevalence rate was recorded at 1.37%, with the lowest rates registered in the north region of Ghana, and the highest in the east.

To control this epidemic, the government appointed the Ghana AIDS Commission. This commission is in charge of handling the treatment, awareness, and education for HIV and AIDS-related health issues.

But, despite the increased awareness and access to HIV treatment, this disease in the Sub-Saharan African region is still one of the most common causes of death. Statistics from 2017 show that HIV was, in fact, responsible for 13,878 deaths.

The Rates of HIV Infections in Ghana Keep Increasing

There is a drastic increase in individuals infected with HIV, according to the Ghana AIDS Commission.

Based on the 2018 statistics, there were 19,931 newly recorded HIV infections, stated the commission in a most recent announcement in 2019, December 1. Their announcement was released to the community through media, mosques, and churches.

3,317 of the newly infected were young children between the ages of 0 and 14, while the rest of the 16,614 were adults.

The most common ways of transmission for the 334,717 already living with HIV, are through:

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse
  • Using various unsterilized sharp instruments.
  • mother-to-child transmission (MTCT)

Statistics from 2016 show the same results, the number of newly infected individuals from 2010 to 2016 increased by a staggering 21%. The most infected were those between the ages of 15 and 24, which are 45% of all the infected.

While Ghana has successfully managed to reduce other common STIs infections by 16%, HIV still remains a serious problem.

What Is Being Done to Control HIV in Ghana?

To ensure access to medicines for HIV treatment, the PEPFAR (The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) has issued $23.7 million for AIDS and HIV treatment in Ghana. With the help of additional programs, PEPFAR has implemented a load of viral testing to prevent and control the spread of the infection in this region.

The Network of Persons living with AIDS and HIV in Ghana have been urging the government to boost their District Assemblies Common Fund to provide more funding for HIV and AIDS treatment.

A conference was held in May 2018 to propose new measures for controlling the HIV disease. Some of the leading institutions that participated in the conference were the CDC – Atlanta’s Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. HIV Research Program. At the conference, the government stated they would assess implications by 2020 in an effort to end AIDS and HIV by 2030.

HIV infections are still a pressing matter for Ghana

HIV infections are still a pressing matter for Ghana. This epidemic has forced the region to start working on implementing a series of programs and policies to stop the spread of the disease and better-manage the infection. More time is necessary, however, to see the full extent of these changes and whether they will have any positive results.

References

https://www.myjoyonline.com/lifestyle/2019/November-29th/hiv-infections-on-the-rise-19000-new-cases-recorded-in-2018-ghana-aids-commission.php

http://www.healthdata.org/sites/default/files/files/images/news_release/2019/HIV%20Press%20Release%20-%20GHANA.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV/AIDS_in_Ghana

https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Government-raises-concern-as-HIV-infections-increase-by-21-650173

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6527824/