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Over 98,000 People Living With HIV/AIDS In Anambra – Health Commissioner Confirms

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Anambra State AIDS Control Agency (ANSACA) has reported a total of 98,960 individuals living with HIV/AIDS in Anambra.

Naija News reports that the statistics were confirmed during a media briefing in Awka on Thursday by the State Commissioner for Health, Afam Obidike, ahead of the 2023 World AIDS Day, observed every December 1 since 1988.

The global theme for this year’s commemoration is ‘Let Communities Lead’, which has been domesticated in Nigeria as ‘Communities’ Leadership to end AIDS by 2030′. The day is commemorated globally to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS and to honour the lives of those affected by the epidemic.

“With the national prevalence of 1.4 per cent, our state HIV prevalence is ranked 5th highest in the country and the highest in South-East.

“It is estimated that 98,960 residents are living with HIV. Of this number, 58 per cent know their status, and only 44,808 are currently on treatment,” Obidike said.

He noted that Anambra was making the needed progress towards attaining the Global 95-95-95 targets, “of which we are at 65:81:93.”

“Worthy of note is the gradual decline in new infections, which is at 46 per cent between 2021 and 2023 and AIDS-related death which is at 32 per cent between 2021 and 2023.

“We have scaled up Prevention of Mother-to-child Transmission services to ensure that no woman transmits this infection to her baby. The good news is that with the advent of Anti Retro-viral Therapy, ART, HIV is no longer a death sentence,” Vanguard quoted the commissioner as saying.

He added that the state was also scaling up access to HIV self-testing to tackle stigma and discrimination.

On his part, the Director of Public Health, Afam Anaeme, described HIV/AIDS as one of the diseases of public health importance.

Anaeme stated that the transmission of the disease occurs through the exchange of body fluids during sexual activities, from mother to child during pregnancy, labour and delivery, breastfeeding, blood transfusion, and engaging in risky sexual behaviours.

He emphasized the importance of community engagement in the development, execution, and oversight of HIV programs. This involvement should encompass providing access to appropriate prevention, treatment, and care services.

“Communities are people living with, at risk of, or affected by HIV, and they need to lead the frontline of progress in the HIV response.

“With the participation of everyone, we can reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Anambra,” he said.

In his remarks, Executive Director of ANSACA, Johnbosco Ementa, urged residents to take advantage of the free testing centres across the state to know their status.

He said that the state government increased the number of HIV treatment sites from 104 to 1,182 with the collaboration of implementing partners.

“ANSACA also deployed mobile testing units, home-based testing, and community outreaches to significantly improve HIV testing coverage and accessibility.

“We appreciate our partners – Achieving Health Nigeria Initiative, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, UNAIDS, CHAI and Global Fund for their support,” he said.