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

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Speaking at the unveiling of NAIIS, a national household-based survey on the prevalence of Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and related health indicators, at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja, the president said, "we can not celebrate yet, as nearly a million Nigerians living with HIV are now not on treatment".

"As part of my contribution to the campaign, I am pleased to inform you that recently, I launched the Free to Shine Campaign here at Abuja before the presence of relevant stakeholders including representatives of MDAs, wives of Governors, members of the Diplomatic Corp as well as people living with HIV/AIDS".

The South-South zone of the country has the highest HIV prevalence, at 3.1 per cent among those aged 15-49 years. Adewole noted that based on the survey, the new position places Nigeria after South Africa, India and Mozambique.

The report also adds that the North-West has the lowest AIDS prevalence rate at 0.6 per cent, while the South-South geopolitical zone has the highest at 3.1 per cent.

"I want to appreciate President Muhammadu Buhari, public and private organisations, the U.S. Government that supported the survey and Nigerians for their cooperation during the survey".

The president, however, said that to end AIDs, Nigeria needs a more coordinated and funded response. Buhari said his government, since assumption of office, has paid particular and deliberate attention to careful planning as a way of implementing effective policies and achieving sustained change.

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"We know with our new data, we can be more focused, we can really go to where the epidemic is and be more efficient in term of utilisation of resources and have a better return on what will be invested in this fight", Sidibe said.

"Also, we thank the United States of America for assisting us to ensure our goals are achieved", he said. In recent years, there has been a significant expansion in the country's response to HIV.

The survey that revealed the decline in the risk of HIV infection was conducted by the Nigerian government with the support of the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other development partners.

The NAIIS was led by the Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS.

The survey was completed at the end of December 2018.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).

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