'Nigeria, 4th Country With Highest HIV/AIDS Patients'

Number of Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS drops to 1.9m

In his goodwill message, the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, said the improved understanding of the country's HIV epidemic would allow Nigeria to better reach people living with HIV and people at higher risk of acquiring HIV.

Isaac Adewole, made the new ranking known yesterday at the official announcement of the result of the NAIIS at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that UNAIDS is the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS and a special team handling all HIV/AIDS related crisis.

The United states supported the survey with 70 million dollars.

The new data differentiate HIV prevalence by state, indicating an epidemic that is having a greater impact in certain areas of the country. HIV prevalence is also high in the North Central zone (2.0%) and in the South East zone (1.9%).

He added that in line with his administration commitment to healthcare, the government would ensure more people living with HIV are put on free anti-retroviral treatment.

Adewole said this improvement was possible due to the huge committee the present administration had channelled towards the eradication of the disease.

The South-South zone of the country has the highest HIV prevalence, at 3.1 per cent among those aged 15-49 years.

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Dr. Sidibe referred to the results of a recently conducted survey on HIV launched by President Buhari which has indicated positive outcomes for HIV in Nigeria, especially with fewer infections and fewer people living with the disease.

"I want to also seize this opportunity to pay tribute to those who died during the process of the survey".

He said the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) considered one of the largest population-based HIV/AIDS household surveys in the world has revealed that 1.9 million Nigerians live with HIV/ AIDS.

" Together, we can stop children from being born with HIV in Nigeria by the year 2020", she said.

He said the survey was the best in the world because of the non-interference policy employed and the use of better quality laboratories.

"I must also commend the efforts of scientist from Nigeria, U.S. University of Maryland, NAIIS team and all those who ensured that the survey was a success". To halt the epidemic, we need to act now.

"I appreciate Mr President for adequate funding of the survey which was done in the most efficient manner and it is the largest survey done in nine months".

"Today is a critical turning point in Nigeria for an HIV epidemic that has killed many of our countrymen and women".

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