Government says result of survey to determine burden of HIV/AIDS

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The Federal Government has said that the result of Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) would determine the burden of HIV/AIDS in the country.

The government also said the outcome of the survey would help it design a better plan for persons living with the scourge.

A member of the National Technical Committee of NAIIS, Dr Greg Ashefor made this known to newsmen while monitoring the exercise in Port Harcourt.

He said that the survey was being conducted by the federal government in partner with CDC USA, NACA, NAIIS, UNICEF and WHO, among other stakeholders.

The theme of the survey is “For healthy families: HIV and viral Hepatitis free generation”.

Ashefor, who is also the Director of Research and Medical Evaluation, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), said that the ongoing survey was to establish the number of persons with HIV/AIDS in the country.

According to him, the survey will help government to know the number of persons affected with the disease in the country and to provide adequate treatment and care for the patients.

“The house holds survey conducted for 2018 will help to plan better for HIV/AIDS care and services; it will also enhance the linkage of HIV positive persons to care.

And also determine the spread of hepatitis A and B in the country,’’ the director said.

He said that the response of persons in various communities in Rivers where the survey was ongoing among the six States in the Web two was commendable.

“Rivers, Ondo, Anambra, Jigawa, Kaduna and Kwara states are the six states mapped out for the survey and the response coming from Rivers state is above 90 per cent; so it is quite commendable.

I am not surprise because there was enough calls, awareness and mobilisation on ground before we started the programme,” he said.

Ashefor also explained that the aim of the survey was for Nigerians to know their health status and to also get the statistics of the accurate number of persons with HIV and Hepatitis as it was estimated in 2017 that 3.2 million persons were leaving with HIV/AIDS in the country.

He said that the tested and affected persons after the survey would be contacted and referred to the health facilities of their choice where they will  receive free treatment.

“Those individuals interviewed, drawn blood and tested positive will be contacted and our refer team will tell them hospitals where they will chose to go for treatment.

Some of them may not want to go for the treatment but our team will come back after the results are out to take them to the facilities of their choice,’’ Ashefor said.

 The  South South Team Leader of Team Nine in NAIIS, Fidelis Ockri said that the community households were welcoming.

Ockri said that out of about 400 persons that were interviewed about 300 tested and the result showed nine persons positive within the days of the exercise.

“We used various methods to conduct the test and we have nine persons tested positive as at today, we don’t know if the number of persons will increase or not,’’ he said.

He said that some communities were complaining that government should have spread the exercise to all communities in the state to enable them benefit.

“One of the challenges we are facing is that some people are reluctant to give their blood for testing but the response so far is encouraging.

Some of them who were tested positive during the last survey said they were unable to continue with the treatment because some of the hospitals they use for treatment were charging them money for their treatment,’’ he said.

He called on government to spread the exercise to more communities and states to reach its goal on HIV and Hepatitis free generation.

Blessing George, one of the respondents, called on Nigerian youths to embrace the exercise and know their status.

George also called on government to sustain the exercise by making sure they tell those affected with HIV and provide free health treatment for them.

L.Nasir