Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Nigeria is to introduce compulsory testing for expectant mothers in an effort to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission, according to the head of the country's National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (NACA), Prof. John Idoko.
The private Nation newspaper Tuesday quoted Prof. Idoko as saying, at a press conference ahead of the 2011 World AIDS Day in the capital city of Abuja on Monday, that 700,000 children born in Nigeria annually were HIV positive.
“We will try our best to make testing for HIV/AIDS available to all expectant mothers in Nigeria because it is unacceptable for between 60,000 and 70,000 children born in Nigeria yearly to be HIV positive,'' he said.
The NACA boss said, however, that the prevalence rate of HIV in Nigeria has reduced from 4.6 per cent (2008) to 4.1 per cent last year, according the latest sentinel survey.
''There is evidence supported by the United Nations that HIV is stabilising in some countries, including Nigeria. While we have noticed a reduction in HIV prevalence in Nigeria, the high rate in some states is still a source of concern to the National HIV response.
''More women (about 1.72 million) than men are living with HIV in Nigeria as a result of inequity in the social, political and economic status of women in Africa in general and in Nigeria in particular,” Prof. Idoko said.
The theme for World AIDS Day 2011 is ''Getting to Zero: Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS-related Deaths.''
-0- PANA SEG 29Nov2011