Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS prevalence rate drops to 1.4%

With 1.9 million persons now living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, the world’s largest black nation has dropped to 4thposition in global HIV prevalence rate, a new survey suggests.

The report is contained in the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, which was organised by the Federal Government and funded principally by the United States Government and other relevant stakeholders.

Prior to the survey, Nigeria had the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence with 3.2 million persons having the disease.

According to the report, the number of women with the deadly virus is twice the number of men that has it.

The state with the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS is now Akwa Ibom. The survey also shows that northern Nigeria has a lower HIV/AIDS burden than the South.

It states that while the North-West has the lowest prevalence rate at 0.6 per cent, the South-South geopolitical zone has the highest with 3.1 per cent.

Briefing journalists after the report was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr Sani Aliyu, said Nigeria was behind South Africa, Mozambique and India.

Aliyu said the survey had a large sample size of 225,000 persons drawn from more than 97,000 households across all the local government areas of Nigeria, making it truly representative of the general population.

He said NAIIS was the biggest HIV survey done by any country anywhere in the world.

Aliyu said that at any point during the survey, the NAIIS project had at least 3,000 workers collecting and reporting data on the field.

The NACA boss said the survey measured the incidence and prevalence of HIV, level of virological suppression and the epidemiological impact of the HIV programme among different age groups.

He said, “The survey we have done today shows that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria for people within the ages of 15 and 49 is 1.4 per cent. The number of persons living with HIV in Nigeria is also based on the population of the country.

“The National Population Commission figure that we were given is a population of 193 million in Nigeria. So, based on that, our estimate of persons living with HIV/AIDS is now 1.9 million persons. The prevalence for women is 1.9 per cent and that of men is 0.9 per cent. So, for every two women that have HIV/AIDS, there is one man that has it.”

In his remark, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, thanked the US Government and Global Fund which contributed over $70m to the project

Chief of Party for the NAIIS project, Aliyu Gambo, said the survey showed that there was a higher prevalence of HIV/AIDS in urban areas than rural settlements.

He said the North had lower prevalence of HIV/AIDS because of cultural behaviours.