Nigerian now fourth on HIV/AIDS status globally

By Gloria Essien

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Nigeria's Minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole

Nigeria is now the fourth HIV/AIDS burden in the world says new sample.

The Nigerian Minister of health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, gave the good news at a media briefing after the announcement of results by the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, NAIIS, in Abuja.

“Initially we were second after South Africa. Now, we are number four after South Africa, India and Mozambique in terms of the burden of the disease” Adewole said.

The Minister also said that the survey in respect to its scientific integrity is the best Nigeria has ever done, noting that there was no government interference in the survey.

“We also had better quality in terms of the analysis, the control over the laboratories. I think this is a far better survey than we have ever done” he said.

He also stressed the work that will be done to make sure that all pregnant women are tested and placed on treatment.

“I think there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of marketing this survey to the states, especially with the Nigerian Governors Forum and the National Economic Council. Using this data to project the level of work to be done and asking for targeted funding… Now we know we are to work more with women, ante natal population, making sure that all pregnant women are tested, making sure we place them on anti retro viral drugs and ensuring that no baby is born positive. These are specific interventions that must be done and we want to assure you that this must be done” the health minister said.

Country status
The Director General of the National Agency for the control of Aids, NACA Dr. Sani Aliyu said that the survey was done with the purpose of giving the true HIV estimate for the country.

“I can tell you that Nigeria cannot get anything better than this survey now. This is not a blame game. This is serious business. We are trying to get people to survive and live well” he said.

Dr Aliyu noted that the data is very powerful as it would assist in advocacy and getting state governments to act.

Also speaking at the event, the Executive Director UNAIDS, Mr Michel Sidibe, commended Nigeria on the feat, saying that the survey would assist UNAID in identifying and responding to issues as they arise in the states with high burden.

On his part, the representative of the WHO, Dr. Rex Mpazanje, says the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, helped Nigerians to know their HIV status.