Nigeria: HIV/Aids – New Infections Still High in Nigeria – Official

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As Nigeria prepares to join the rest of the world to commemorate the World AIDS day on December 1, the country still accounts for more than half of new infections and deaths from AIDS-related illnesses globally.

The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Gambo Aliyu, said this at a press conference to commemorate the World AIDS Day (WAD).

Mr Aliyu, on Thursday, also said “less than 40 per cent of adolescent and young people in Nigeria have comprehensive knowledge about HIV.”

“Over 60 per cent of adolescents and young people across the country do not have significant knowledge about HIV and adequate sexual education about the disease,” he said.

World AIDs Day

The WAD is celebrated on December 1, every year, to raise awareness of AIDS caused by HIV infection. The theme for 2019 WAD is “Communities makes the difference”.

Speaking on this year’s theme, Mr Aliyu said, “we recognise the essential role that communities have played and continue to play in the AIDS response at the international, national and local levels.

“Communities include networks of people living with or affected by HIV, women and young people, peer educators, counselors, community health workers, Civil Society Organisations (CSO), religious and traditional leaders, policy makers and activists.

“Communities are vital to facilitating an enabling environment that promotes equal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services for Nigerians. They are also vital to safeguarding the rights of Nigerians living with HIV,” he said.

‘Achieving control’

He noted that as Nigeria strives to achieve epidemic control, the efforts of communities are urgently needed to ensure “that HIV remains on the political agenda”.

In his remarks, the Senate Committee Chairman on Primary Healthcare, Chukwuka Utazi, said “this campaign is key to Nigeria’s effort to achieve the UNAIDS target.

“As we launch this campaign early next week, communities will be charged with the responsibility of supporting their fellow Nigerians living with HIV to achieve undetectable viral load for their own good and for the good of Nigeria,” he said.

‘No Cure for HIV’

Mr Aliyu also said that the cure for HIV/AIDS has not been found.