Changing Epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in Ghana: Any Link to the Civil War in Neighbouring La Cote d'Ivoire?
Frank Baiden, Navrongo Health Research Centre
John E. Williams, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Cornelius Y. Debpuur, Navrongo Health Research Centre
Abraham Hodgson, Navrongo Health Research Centre
James F. Phillips, Population Council
The civil war in La Cote D'Ivoire has lead to increased cross-border activities with neighbouring Ghana. Data from the 2002 HIV sentinel survey report for Ghana suggests evidence of a possible effect of the war on the HIV/AIDS situation in Ghana. This paper discusses possible association between sharp increases in HIV seroprevalence among pregnant women in two districts that have experienced increased commerce and haulage as a result of the war in the neighbouring country. In the port city of Tema, seroprevalence of HIV has shot up from 2.5% in 2001 to 6.6% in 2002 while in Navrongo at the northern border prevalence has risen from 2.4% to 5.1% over the same period. Navrongo and Tema are now among the five towns with highest HIV seroprevalence in Ghana. The findings should inform HIV research and control in towns along Ghana's borders. Civil strife and wars in the West African sub-region may be altering the HIV/AIDS epidemiology in the region and surveillance systems should be strengthened to adapt to changing situations.