…Says 1.6m receiving treatment
AROUND 1.9 million Nigerians are currently living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) while about 1,619,133 are receiving treatment.
National Agency for the Control of AIDS(NACA) gave the figures in report on the country’s update issued in Abuja, today.
Giving a breakdown, the report said women constitute about 54 per cent of the recent figure while 34 per cent are pregnant women.
Presenting the report in a news conference, a consultant, Dr. Sule Abdullahi, traced the development to lack of adequate awareness and discrimination, among other factors, for the persistent increase in infection rates.
According to Abdullahi, these factors rose to an alarming rate during the pandemic.
“Part of the factors that keep rising the rate of HIV infection among Nigerians over the years includes lack of awareness and discrimination. These got to an alarming rate during the COVID-19 era, when you know the whole country was locked down for more than a month. So, many hospitals were shut because of fear of the disease. So, those who are on drugs, especially HIV drugs, both women and children, and even adults had no access to the drugs. They had nowhere to get the drugs, they couldn’t go to the hospital, and everywhere was locked. Unfortunately, with HIV drugs, once you are less than 95 per cent compliant, the virus can easily develop resistance and you have to use newer drugs. These newer drugs are more expensive and have more side effects and are difficult to access. After COVID-19, it took almost a year for the whole HIV programme to come back to its normal shape. So, that has affected the programme,” he said.
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