HIV: Nigeria now ‘fourth most affected’ globally

    Nigerian has moved from the HIV/AIDS indicator and impart survey to the fourth most affected globally from the place it was ranked in 2014.

    The survey assessed the prevalence of HIV and related health indicators in the country and captured surveyed 225,000 respondents

    It was conducted over the space of six months (June to December, 2018) through the federal ministry of health and National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA).

    According to Isaac Adewole, minister of health, it was also discovered that only 1.1 million Nigerians living with HIV are undergoing treatment with mother-to-child transmission still a major means of infection.

    The report added that Akwa Ibom overtook Benue as the state with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS while the number of women living with the virus is double the number of men living with it.

    Other key findings from the survey as unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja include:

    The national prevalence measure (that is percentage of persons living with HIV in the population under study) is 1.4%.

    The prevalence rate among adults (15-49 years) is 1.9% for women and 0.9% for men.

    North-west region has the lowest prevalence rate at 0.6 per cent, while south-south has the highest with 3.1 per cent.

    Results from other geopolitical zones show that north-central has 2.1% prevalence rate, south-east, 1.9%; south-west, 1.2%; and north-east, 1.1%.

    While unveiling the report, President Muhammadu Buhari promised his administration will continue to commit relevant resources to ensure Nigeria attains zero HIV status.

    In his keynote address, Adewole described the survey which cost about $110m as “world class”, while revealing that the US government contributed as much as $70m to it.

    He added: “We must ensure pregnant women have access to required services and are tested during every pregnancy. We know we can support HIV-positive mothers hence ensuring the next generation is free from HIV,” he said.

    Sani Aliyu, director-general of NACA, said it is important that all people living with HIV get into treatment and achieve viral suppression.

    “To halt the epidemic, we need do act now. As a government working without partners, we have what it takes to support persons who are HIV-positive to provide treatment and ensure they live long and healthy lives” he said.