An estimated 1.9 million Nigerians are living with HIV even as a new national HIV prevalence of 1.4 per cent has been confirmed among Nigerian adults aged 15–49 years according to results of the 2018 National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, NAIIS, conducted by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, the Federal Ministry of Health, UNAIDS and other international partners.
Previous estimates had indicated that over three million Nigerians were living with HIV and that the country had a national HIV prevalence of 2.8 per cent.
Welcoming the news, yesterday, in Abuja that there are fewer people living with HIV in the country than previously estimated while launching the Revised National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework 2019–2021, which will guide the country’s future response to the epidemic, President Muhammadu Buhari, however, observed that it was not time to celebrate.
“For the first time, the end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is truly in sight for our country. I urge all of us not to relent but to increase the momentum. Let us work collectively and push for the last mile,” the president said.
Noting that the results of the survey came at the right time, he said it would provide the data required to plan adequately and consolidate on the past and current gains against the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country.
He said: “This is the largest population-based HIV/AIDS survey of its kind ever conducted and it has provided us with the crucial information to move forward and to act based on scientific data.
“More accurate figures show that fewer Nigerians have HIV/AIDS but we cannot celebrate yet because over one million of those infected are not on treatment.”
According to the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, “everyone infected with HIV needs to get treatment so they can achieve viral suppression, especially pregnant women. We must ensure pregnant women have access to antenatal services and are tested during every pregnancy. We know we can support HIV-positive mothers, hence ensuring the next generation is free from HIV.”