THE rate of HIV infection among pregnant women in Tanga Region has scaled up to 7.5 per cent.
The revelation was made recently in a two day AIDS stakeholders' workshop held at Regal Naivera Complex Hall in the city in their 2017 HIV infection data report. Presiding over the workshop, Tanga Regional AIDS Control Coordinator, Dr Selemani Msangi, pointed out that according to the survey, most of the pregnant women were not aware that they were infected at the prenatal stage.
He said according to the HIV statistics, the infection prevalence in the region has increased two times to 5.0 per cent in the year 2016/17 from 2.4 per cent in 2011/2012, further asserting that in 2007/2008 the percentage of infection was 4.8 per cent.
The Coordinator noted that last year, a total of 288,953 residents voluntarily tested for HIV/AIDS and 8,080 of them tested positive, besides a total of 1,396 babies born with the virus. He cited homosexuality, use of illicit drugs and sharing syringes among commercial sexual workers to have been the reason for the increase.
Without going into details, Dr Msangi said some HIV patients were not continuing with their ARVs regiments especially men, adding: "A total of 22,948 HIV patients do not continue with their dosages and we are making efforts to make sure these HIV victims are not escaping." He said the centres offering the assistance to the patients have been facing some challenges ranging from shortage of health professionals to a modern machine that can easily detect the viral load.
The workshop was attended by some government and private HIV/AIDS officials including those from ICAP, AGAPHI, District Commissioners (DCs), District Medical Officers (DMOs) and District Executive Directors ( DEDs) from the region