The Acting Country Programme Manager, AIDS Healthcare Foundation Nigeria, Dr. Greg Abiaziem, has confirmed that over 382,000 persons have been confirmed with HIV, in Benue, Ondo and Borno states, with Benue State ranked first in the HIV/AIDS prevalence rating in Nigeria according to the national survey carried out in 2014.
Abiaziem said this on Friday at the commemoration of the 2017 World AIDS Day held at the IBB Square, Makurdi.
He stated that over 300,000 people were living with the virus in the state, adding that the AHF was working hard to bring the figure down.
He said out of the figure, 140,000 were currently undergoing treatment at the various treatment centres in the state.
Meanwhile, Abiaziem said the government must put more funds into HIV prevention so as to reduce the spread of the virus.
He added that the virus was predominant among men sleeping with men, saying there was the need to reach out to them in terms of testing, counselling and treatment.
He said, “Statistically, we have not really done well in terms of testing and treatment services. Therefore, we are advocating that people should come out for testing so as to receive counselling and early treatment if need be.
“We must hold our government accountable to see that they keep their promises of committing more funds to AIDS’ activities.”
In his address, the state governor, who is also the Chairman, Board of Governors, Benue State AIDS Control Agency, Samuel Ortom, said with the dedicated and collaborative efforts of BENSACA and its partners, HIV prevalence rate would soon be reduced in the state.
Ortom, who was represented by his deputy, Mr. Benson Abounu, said the state’s long-term objective was to have a zero prevalence rate.
Similarly, no fewer than 81,871 persons were living with HIV in Ondo State.
According to a report presented at the 2017 World AIDS Day in Ondo, out of the figure, 5,048 people are newly infected, while 8,048 are receiving treatment.
However, the Chairman, Ondo State Agency for the Control of AIDS and Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Sunday Abegunde, who presented the report, said the Governor Rotimi Akeredolu administration would not relent in its efforts to ensuring that the disease was eradicated in the state.
Also, in his keynote address, Akeredolu said the state government had been up and doing in trying to eliminate the mother-to-child transmission of the disease and also prevent new infections.
He added, “Awareness is going to be scaled up in the state. In addition, an investment in testing, treatment, and elimination of mother-to-child transmission will slow down HIV spread and lead to early treatment, which is the key to viral suppression and long-term survival.”
The governor also urged the residents to avoid multiple sex partners and ensure the use of condoms during sex, saying that only a collective fight would help reduce the prevalence of the disease.
Similarly, the Borno State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Haruna Mshelia, at the commemoration of the 2017 World AIDS Day, said that more than 1,900 people were living with HIV in the state.
He, however, added that the state government had scaled up HIV services in 237 health facilities across the state to achieve the United Nations AIDS global strategy of 90:90:90 by 2030,
The 90:90:90 strategy aims that by 2030, “90 per cent of the population should be tested, 90 per cent of those found to be positive should be placed on therapy and 90 per cent of those on drugs should have viral load suppressed.”
Mshelia said the state had already intensified its HIV sensitisation efforts so as to reduce the spread among the residents.
Source: ( Punch Newspaper )