By Hassan Zaggi
The number of people living with HIV in Nigeria has dropped from three million which is equivalent to 3.0 prevalence rate to 1.9 million which is also equivalent to 1.4 prevalence rate, the Nigerian HIV/AIDs Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) has shown.
Speaking while announcing the result of the survey in Abuja, yesterday, President Muhammadu Buhari, calls for concerted by all stakeholders in order to end HIV by 2030.
NAIIS was planned and implemented by the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with NACA, PEPFAR/US CDC and Global Fund.
It is said to be the largest survey that has so far been conducted on HIV in the world.
The goal of this survey is to determine the national and state level prevalence of HIV in Nigeria, the prevalence of Hepatitis B and C at the National level, to assess the coverage and impact of HIV intervention services, and to measure HIV-related risk behaviours using a nationally representative sample.
The President therefore directed NACA and the Federal Ministry of Health to undertake what he described as, “detailed consultations and consensus building with key sectorial Ministries, the legislature, governors of high prevalence states, our development partners and civil society to chart a new strategic path, building on the results of this survey.
“To guide this process, we are issuing today a “Revised National HIV/AIDS Strategic Framework” document.”
Speaking earlier, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, reiterated his excitement that, “the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria has contracted. It is important to note that though there is a reduction in prevalence; the total number of people affected by the disease is still huge based on our population.
“We are confident that with excellent initiatives like the Saving One Million Lives project (SOML) and the Basic Health Care Provision Fund (BHCPF), we 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.”
On his part, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, stressed that with reliable data on Nigeria’s HIV epidemic status, the country stands chance of reaching people living with HIV and people at higher risk of acquiring HIV.
According to him: “I commend the Government of Nigeria and its partners for conducting this ambitious survey which provides us with a much better understanding of the country’s HIV epidemic.
“While it is fantastic news that there are fewer people living with HIV in Nigeria than previously thought, we must not let down our guard.
“Let us use the results of this survey to better focus our delivery of HIV prevention, treatment and care services to the people in the greatest need and ensure that Nigeria gets on track to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.”