HIV prevalence drops in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria (PANA) - Nigeria's HIV prevalence has dropped from 4.6 per cent to 4.1 per cent, and the number of people infected is estimated at 3.1 million, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, disclosed here Thursday.

Launching the 2010 HIV sero-prevalence sentinel survey among pregnant women, Chukwu said the reduction was made possible by the effectiveness of various intervention strategies.

The minister recalled that the national survey conducted in 1991 put the prevalence at 1.8 per cent, adding that although over the years the prevalence rose to 4.5 per cent in 1995/1996 and 5.8 per cent in 2001, it had been declining since then.

According to him, government instituted three types of HIV and AIDS surveys nationwide, including programme planning, monitoring and evaluation, for effectiveness.

These are "sero-prevalence sentinel survey conducted among the antenatal clinic attendees, HIV and AIDS and reproductive health survey plus, as well as the integrated biological and behavioural surveillance survey.

Chukwu revealed that the prevalence of new infection among youths aged 15 to 24 had also declined from 6.0 per cent in 2001 to 4.1 per cent in 2010.

He explained that the 2010 sentinel survey had confirmed that HIV remained a public health problem of enormous magnitude that should be given priority attention.

"With the national prevalence of 4.1 per cent, the number of people infected is estimated at about 3.1 million. This means that Nigeria still has the second largest number of people living with HIV and AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and the highest in West African sub region.

"The overall national HIV prevalence for 2010 antenatal clinic sentinel survey is 4.1 per cent, with prevalence ranging from 1.0 per cent in Kebbi to 12.7 per cent in Benue. Currently, about 1.5 million people including 212,720 children are still in need of treatment," the minister remarked.

He said about 400,000 People Living with HIV and AIDS had access to free anti-retroviral drugs, adding that the Federal Government was committed to improving HIV and AIDS services and other areas of health.

Earlier, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDS, Prof. John Idoko, said there was the need to identify groups that were still fuelling infection so as to channel better preventive strategies.

Idoko urged state governments to strive to further reduce the epidemic in their communities.

Also speaking, the Country Representative of WHO, Dr. David Okello, advised states with low prevalence reporting to work harder for lower figures.
-0- PANA ADE/BOS 24March2011


24 march 2011 17:20:59




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