Many Nigerians still do not know their HIV status in spite of the availability of HIV Testing Services (HTS) in the country.
Coordinator of the National AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health, Araoye Segilola, said this yesterday in Abuja.
He was speaking on activities planned for the World AIDS Day organized by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), in collaboration with UNAIDS. The World AIDS Day is marked on December 1 every year.
Segilola said “Currently only 38% of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria know their status, this shows that there is still a 52% gap. In 2017, available data indicate that a total of just over 9 million persons were counseled and tested with 239, 542 testing positive; 136, 987 female and 102, 555 male.”
Director General of NACA, Dr Sani Aliyu, said the country has recorded significant improvements in addressing mother to child Transmission of HIV/AIDS
National Coordinator of Network of People living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPHWAN), Victor Omoshehin called for the elimination of all barriers to testing and treatment services in the country inorder to achieve UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals.
according to UNAIDS In 2016, Nigeria had 220 000 (150 000 – 310 000) new HIV infections and 160 000 (110 000 – 230 000) AIDS-related deaths. There were 3 200 000 (2 300 000 – 4 300 000) people living with HIV in 2016, among whom 30% (19% – 42%) were accessing antiretroviral therapy. Among pregnant women living with HIV, 32% (22% – 44%) were accessing treatment or prophylaxis to prevent transmission of HIV to their children. An estimated 37 000 (22 000 – 56 000) children were newly infected with HIV due to mother-to-child transmission. Among people living with HIV, approximately 24% (18% – 32%) had suppressed viral loads.
The key populations most affected by HIV in Nigeria are:
- Sex workers, with an HIV prevalence of 14.4%.
- Gay men and other men who have sex with men, with an HIV prevalence of 23%.
- People who inject drugs, with an HIV prevalence of 3.4%.
Since 2010, new HIV infections have decreased by 21% and AIDS-related deaths have decreased by 6%.
Nigeria’s HIV epidemic affects all population groups and geographic areas of the country. It is the second largest epidemic globally. Key populations are disproportionately impacted by the epidemic.
Nigeria is a Fast-Track country and its response is guided by the National Strategic Framework 2017–2021, which aims at ending AIDS by achieving zero new infections, zero AIDS related deaths and zero discrimination. Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is a priority. Stigma and discrimination is a major challenge, especially towards key populations and people living with HIV.