BY SOLA OGUNDIPE & CHIOMA OBINNA
In line with predictions, Nigeria’s national HIV prevalence rate has continued its downward trend first witnessed in 2001.
Result of the latest HIV Sero-Prevalence Sentinel Survey conducted among the antenatal clinic attendees in Nigeria puts the overall 2010 National HIV prevalence at 4.1 per cent – down by 0.1 percent from the 2008 figure.
An estimated three million persons are living with HIV – positioning Nigeria in the No. 2 spot of
week, Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, attributed the decline to the effectiveness of HIV prevention/ intervention strategies adopted in the country.
Giving insight into the sentinel survey, Chukwu He said the epidemic has affected all parts of the country with varying degrees of severity.
“The overall National HIV prevalence for 2010 ANC Sentinel Survey is 4.1 per cent with prevalence ranging from 1.0 per cent in Kebbi to 12.7 per cent in Benue state. The prevalence was generally higher in urban than rural areas. However, eight states had a higher rural prevalence than urban and the highest survey site-specific prevalence of 21.3 per cent was observed in Wannune, a rural site in Benue State.
“The trend analysis of HIV prevalence among youths aged 15-24 years which is a crude index of new infection gave evidence of declining prevalence from 2001 to 2010 (6.0 per cent in 2001, 5.3 per cent in 2003, 4.3 percent in 2005, 4.2 per cent in 2008 and 4.1 per cent in 2010). This has given us some rays of hope that our prevention/interventions strategies are working.”
Currently, about 1.5 million people including 212,720 children are still in need of AIDS treatment.
By the end of 2009, there were 1,074 health facilities where HIV counseling and testing services can be accessed, 670 health facilities providing services on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV, and 393 health facilities providing Anti retroviral services.
The Minister said the National Sero-prevalence Sentinel Survey among the antenatal clinic attendees provides information on the HIV epidemic and its distribution in the country.
Information provided by the sero – prevalence is aimed at sensitising all stakeholders to take appropriate measures towards prevention, control and mitigating the impact of HIV.
The first ANC sero-prevalence survey conducted in 1991 put the National prevalence at 1.8 per cent and over the years, the prevalence rose to 4.5 per cent in 1995/96, and peaked at 5.8 per cent in 2001 before it started declining. Nine rounds of the surveys have been conducted since 1991 with the latest being the 2010.
Report of the 2010 HIV sero-prevalence sentinel survey conducted among the ANC attendees in Nigeria would be put to further use in planning for a better life for all PLWH in Nigeria and for the actualisation of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG).