The South-South Zone recorded the highest HIV prevalence rate, according to the 2018 Nigeria HIV and AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) has revealed.
Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, while giving an overview of NAIIS on Thursday in Abuja, said the South South has a prevalence rate of 3.1 per cent.
He added that the survey should however be used as a new beginning to do more work in the fight against the epidemic.
According to results from the survey conducted among adults between the age of 15 to 64 years across the six geo-graphical zone, the North Central zone follows closely with 2.1 per cent, while the South East zone is at 1.9 per cent.
The survey also showed that the South West zone has 1.2 per cent, while the North East has 1.1 per cent.
The lowest prevalence rate is in the North West zone with 0.6 per cent.
Also speaking on the survey, Dr Sani Aliyu, Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) noted that the data from the survey would greatly position the country to met the set target of ending the epidemic by 2030.
“Today, we are closer as a country to achieving this goal.
“But i must commend President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to ending this epidemic in the country.
“I must also commend the efforts of scientist from Nigeria, U.S. University of Maryland, NAIIS team and all those who ensured that the survey was a success.
“What will take other countries three years to achieve, was done in nine months.
“It is my hope that the results would be a new dawn in the fight against HIV, as i am confident that the HIV surge will be a thing of the past”, he said.
However, Mr Michele Sidibe, Executive Director, UNAIDS, commended the federal government and the implementing partners for ensuring that the survey was successful.
“This result is good news as it indicates a lower burden which will indicate new people on treatment.
“However, it is time for us to leverage on the result and ensure that no baby is born with HIV in Nigeria”, he added.
According to the NAIIS results, 1.9 million people are presently living with the virus in the country.
This figure places Nigeria fourth country with the highest HIV prevalence globally, coming after South Africa, India and Mozambique.