By Nike Adebowale
The Nigerian HIV/AIDs Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) has shown that Akwa Ibom has the highest prevalence rate of HIV in the country.
The result indicates that about 5.5 per cent of the people living with HIV in Nigeria are in Akwa Ibom State, followed by Benue State, which has about 5.3 per cent prevalence rate.
It also states that while the North-West has the lowest prevalence rate at 0.6 per cent, the South-South geopolitical zone has the highest with 3.1 per cent.
Speaking during the announcement of the NAIIS result on Thursday, the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDs (NACA), Sani Aliyu, said about 1.9 million Nigerians are currently living with HIV.
The event was held at the Banquet Hall of the State House in Abuja.
He said the percentage of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Nigeria, among the age group of 15-49 years, is 1.4 per cent (1.9 per cent among females and 0.9 per cent among males.)
In his response to the prevalence rate in the state, the minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said this is not the time to start blaming states.
“For the south-south, (it) is Akwa-Ibom that has the highest prevalence, and, for the North Central, it is still Benue State.
“But then we should also look at the quality of interventions we have had. Benue has one of the largest interventions programme in the country, so that is also expected to yield results.
“It would have been frustrating if with those interventions, we now have 10 per cent in Benue.” he said.
He noted that he was quite happy about the downward trend in Benue State.
In his goodwill message, David Young, Charge de Affairs, Embassy of the United States of America, said “Beyond the data, the survey has proved the capacity of Nigerians working together in solidarity with one another to rise and resolve challenges regarding the health and well being of their brothers and sisters.
“The US government is proud to support Nigeria in conducting the NAIIS survey,” he said.
The Country Director, Center for Disease Control Nigeria (CDC), Mahesh Swaminathan said the results will help the government improve it efforts in the fight against the virus.
“The encouraging results presented today, along with ongoing monitoring and evaluation data will help the Government of Nigeria to intensify efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDs to achieve epidemic control.
“CDC will continue to work alongside our Nigerian brothers and sisters in this fight.” he said.