By Necus M. Andrews
More women are said to be infected with theHuman Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) than men in Liberia, a report from the Liberia Demographic Health Survey (LDHS) has revealed.
The LDHS puts Liberia’s current HIV prevalence (infection rate) to 2.1 percent out of the approximately 4,503,000 people.In 2007, the country’s HIV prevalence was at 1.7 percent.
According to the survey, 30,000 persons are currently infected with the HIV virus, in which women account for more numbers.
More women are reportedly infected because they are showing up for testing than men and not based on any life style.
In this number, women account for 16,100 and men 10,000. The survey also revealed that 3, 900 are infected by the virus.
This shows that the virus infection rate is fast increasing across the country which requires a strong political will through the allocation of money and empowerment of relevant institutions.
The report said 1,200 adults and 500 children get infected with HIVannually in the country, while1,900 people are said to be dying of AIDS annually, the disease that is caused by HIV.
The survey also referred to certain group of people as having the highest HIV infection rate in the country.These groups include commercial sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject themselves with drugs,and transgender individuals are among those who have the highest risk of HIV infection.
The report indicated that there are 1,822 commercial sex workers, 711 men, who have sex with men and 457 people who inject drugs routinely in Liberia.
The report further indicated that commercial sex workers account for 9.8 percent, 19.8 percent for men who have sex with men, 5 percent for uniformed service individuals (Immigration, Police), 4.8 percent for transport workers, 4.5 percent for mobile traders and 5 percent for people who inject drug themselves are in overall HIV infection rate in Liberia.
The HIV Treatment Cascade for Liberia 2015 said just 7,391 out of the total number of people infected with HIV are on treatment, while 14,196 are without treatment.
The survey cited weak political commitment, ownership and accountability at the program level, weak health and community systems, especially weak community service delivery for HIV, weak procurement and supply chain management system with its associated disruption of services. It cited poor adherence, low retention and high levels of stigma and discriminationare the bottlenecks in the HIV fight.
The lack of capacity and availability of funds at the county and national levels, and insufficient domestic contribution for HIV and response are some of the hurdles cited in there.