By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
The 2014 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) has showed that Ghanaians with age between 15 and 19 years are less knowledgeable about HIV prevention methods than older Ghanaians.
The survey revealed that 61% and 73% of women and men who have never been married and never had sex know little about using condoms and limiting sexual intercourse to one uninfected partner reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
According to the survey, Ghanaians residing in urban areas, especially women, are more likely to be knowledgeable about HIV prevention methods than their rural counterparts.
It said 83% of women in the Central region and 92% men in the Greater Accra region with more than 79% secondary education of women and 87% of men, and 77% of those in the highest wealth quintile 77% of women and 87% of men are more knowledgeable of HIV prevention methods than other Ghanaians.
Knowledge about HIV prevention methods fell below 50% among women in the Northern region (44%) compared with 82% of men in the same region.
The survey said 77% of women and 86% of men between the ages of 15 and 49 know that consistent use of condoms is a means of preventing the spread of HIV.
‘‘Eighty-four percent of women and 92% of men know that limiting sexual intercourse to one faithful and uninfected partner can reduce the chances of contracting HIV. The proportions of women and men who know that both using condoms and limiting sexual intercourse to one uninfected partner are means of preventing HIV are 70% and 82% respectively,’’ said the GDHS survey.
Similarly, 20% of young women and 27% of young men have knowledge of HIV prevention. Among both sexes, the proportion with comprehensive knowledge generally increases with age, educational attainment, and wealth.
The survey said the urban young people are more likely than rural young people to have knowledge of HIV prevention. Knowledge of HIV prevention is highest among young women living in the Greater Accra region (33%), young men living in the Eastern region (39%), and among those with the highest levels of education and wealth.
Overall, the GDHS survey said 1% of women reported that they had two or more partners in the past 12 months. Among women who had two or more partners in the past 12 months, 11% reported using a condom during their last sexual intercourse. The mean number of lifetime partners among all women who have ever had sexual intercourse is 2.3.
Meanwhile, 14% of men with age between 15 and 49 reported that they had two or more partners in the past 12 months, and 19% of these men reported using a condom during their last sexual intercourse. The mean number of lifetime partners among all men who have ever had sexual intercourse is 7.3, more than three times the mean number for women.