The Health Director of Ada-East, Dr Hubert Hounkpatin, has highlighted the polygamous culture and attitudinal disposition as contributing factors to the high number of HIV cases in the district.
During an Ada East District Assembly Ordinary Session, Dr Hounkpatin expressed concern about the prevalence of HIV in the district, particularly among adults who engage in multiple sexual partnerships, leading to a higher prevalence rate compared to regional and national levels.
“In Ada, they have multiple partners, and that is where the issue is; as health professionals, we cannot disclose to your partner if you say no,” Dr Hounkpatin stated.
He emphasized that the transmission of HIV is predominantly through unprotected sex among individuals who have multiple relationships, as those with several partners are more likely to transmit the disease within a larger sexual network.
Dr Hounkpatin further highlighted that free condoms were provided to community members, but some individuals chose not to use them, stressing the need for behavioural change to reduce the HIV threat in the district.
“The challenge we're having, especially with males, is that when they come in and are diagnosed, they won't tell their partners, and you can't disclose,” he explained.
He advised infected individuals to avoid unprotected sex with uninfected or partners with unknown HIV status.
Ms Sarah Dugbakie Pobee, the Ada East District Chief Executive, expressed concern about the high incidence of HIV cases and attributed it, in part, to the impregnation of young females by visitors who come to the area for social activities.
She highlighted that Ada's status as a tourism enclave attracts a significant number of visitors every weekend, posing a considerable risk of spreading the disease to the local population, and emphasized the need for a comprehensive investigation and response to address the situation.