Condom use among sex workers in Ghana has shot up “tremendously”, but the middle class is having a lot more unprotected sex, Country Director for UNAIDS, Girmay Haile has told STARR NEWS. Haile said the trend exposes the urban professional population to higher risk of HIV infection.
“Condom usage is generally low in Ghana but when we look at [it] by population groups, we see that condom use among sex workers has increased tremendously: over 90 percent, and overtime we have seen a reduction of new infection among sex workers from somewhere around 80 percent to about 12 percent, and condom use could really be attributed to that great success”, the UNAIDS Country Director explained.
He said: “When we look at the other populations, especially the middle class, the urban professional class, condom usage is very very low. And with HIV, to make a difference in terms of reducing new HIV infections, you must have a minimum use of about 65 percent on condoms, but the average demand in the urban city is very very low. It’s about below 20 percent. Yes the middle class and the urban population, basically the professional population have less use of condoms so they are at higher risk than other groups to be infected”.
“…Also among the class, because of lifestyle, there’s also an increasing number of multiple sex partnership as well. And in this class again, they don’t know their HIV status so they don’t try to find out their HIV status. So if you don’t know your HIV status, if you don’t use condom, but then you are in multiple sex partnership, then there’s real disaster, because for every additional sex partner that you have, you are putting yourself three times in danger or at risk of being infected”, Haile added.