Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

Number of Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS drops to 1.9m

Number of Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS drops to 1.9m

From 2010 to 2017, the country nearly tripled the number of people living with HIV having access to antiretroviral therapy, up from 360 000 people in 2010 to more than 1 million people in 2018.

Akwa Ibom State in South South Nigeria, now has the highest AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) prevalence rate in Nigeria, according to the Nigerian HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS). It also accounts for the second highest HIV and Aids burden in the world after South Africa.

He noted that the U.S had also assisted the organisation in its goal of eradicating AIDS in the country as it supported Nigeria with $70 million to undertake the survey.

The survey presented for each geopolitical zone in the country for prevalence among persons age 15-64 years reads: North Central 2.1 per cent; North East 1.1 per cent; North West 0.6 per cent; South East 1.9 per cent; South-South 3.1 per cent, and South West 1.2 per cent.

This came up as Nigeria's president, Muhammadu Buhari, unveiled the findings of the Nigeria HIV/AIDS NAIIS and launched the Revised National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework 2019-2021, which will form the future response to the country's epidemic. He said: "Today is a critical turning point in Nigeria for a HIV epidemic that has killed many of our countrymen and women".

Mr Aliyu said it is important for all people living with HIV to get treatment and achieve viral suppression.

In his remarks, Onyeama said the cooperation agreement was a welcome development since it will enable government to have direct relationship with UNAIDS.

"We know with our new data, we can be more focused, we can really go to where the epidemic is and be more efficient in term of utilisation of resources and have a better return on what will be invested in this fight", Sidibe said. "Everyone infected with HIV needs to get treatment so they can achieve viral suppression, especially pregnant women".

He assured that initiatives like the Saving One Million Lives project (SOML) and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF) would be able to cushion the effect of the disease through the provision of free ANC, PMTCT to pregnant women in addition to other services.

"However, it is time for us to leverage on the result and ensure that no baby is born with HIV in Nigeria", he added.

He however tasked the Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS to work closely with state governments with high HIV prevalence by ensuring that the epidemic was drastically reduced. The survey reached around 220 000 people in about 100 000 households.

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