The Bolgatanga Municipal Health Director, Dr. Nellic Edmond Mohammed Nyanwura, has revealed that high alcohol intake by residents has been identified as a cause of the increasing prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region.
Citing the multiple factors that are responsible for the spread of the epidemic in the municipality, Dr. Nyanwura observed that alcohol impairs one’s sense of judgment; and therefore, its consumers tend to engage themselves in sexual activities without precaution.
“When you look at alcoholic beverage consumption, we have it very high here; and once people take in alcohol, their judgments get impaired. So it is one of the contributory factors we are talking about.”
“Once people get drunk, their judgments are impaired in the sense that even if normally, they would have been using condom to have sex, they tend not to bother about the usage of the condom. And this is one of the areas that affects us badly.” He explained.
Other causative factors Dr. Nyanwura pointed out included mining activities, activities of commercial sex workers as well as some cultural practices characteristic of residents in the area where a family of all female children requires that one of their daughters remains unmarried; yet bears children in order to perpetuate her father’s family lineage.
Painting a picture of the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the municipality, he said “For the past three years, Bolgatanga Municipality has had our prevalence above the regional and above the national averages. For instance the recent study that we’ve done in 2019 shows that we have a prevalence rate of 3.6. This means that if you tested thousand people, 36 of them would have HIV. And it is actually higher than the previous year and also higher than last 3 years.”
Giving statistics of the situation in the municipality which Dr. Nyanwura stressed has consistently recorded higher prevalence rates than the regional and national averages, he stated that “in 2017, we had 2.2; in 2018 we had 2.8 and in 2019 we recorded 3.6.”
He spoke to A1 Radio on Tuesday, in line with this year’s commemoration of World AIDS Day.