Dr Ruth Adabe, the Executive Director, Nasarawa State AIDS Control Agency, has said that no fewer than 43,500 people are currently living with HIV and AIDs in Nasarawa State.
Adabe disclosed this on Thursday in Keffi at a two-day meeting with journalists in Nasarawa State on the Prevention from Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS and Adolescent Young Persons.
The media parley was jointly organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund Kaduna State Field Office, and the National Orientation Agency.
Represented by Dr Peter Attah, the state’s HIV/AIDS and STIs Control Programme Officer, Adabe called on residents to always know their health status in the interest of their health and for the overall development of the country.
She said that new infections among AYP for 2016, 2017 and first half of 2018 were 1,721; 1,155, and 1,068, respectively.
She said: “In 2017, AYP that were Counselled, Tested and Received Result were 82,151 with 1,155 testing positive to HIV, while in the first semester of 2018, AYP CTRR is 75,435 with 1,086 positive.
“AYP currently on Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) treatment as at June 2018 in Nasarawa State is 4,245, comprising 976 male and 3,269 female, with female being the most affected group.
“In 2016 over 240,000 adolescents between the ages of 10 and 19 were living with HIV, making up seven per cent of the total number of people with HIV in Nigeria.
“HIV prevalence among this age group varies regionally, with 4.3 per cent of 15-19 years old living with HIV in the South-South, compared to 1.3 per cent in the South-East.
“Health outcomes for adolescents living with HIV in Nigeria are poor, and Nigeria is the only country in the world where mortality in 10 -14 years old is rising.
“Young women have a higher HIV prevalence and are infected earlier in life than men of the same age group.
“In 2016, more than 46,000 young women were infected with HIV compared to 33,900 young men.
“Reports from a 2017 National Health Survey show that only 29 per cent of women and 27.9 per cent of men between the ages of 15 and 24 could correctly identify ways of preventing sexual transmission of HIV, and reject major myths around transmission.”
Earlier, Rabiu Musa, the Communication Officer of UNICEF, Kaduna Field Office, said that the aimed of the meeting was to provide knowledge and orientation to the participants on PMTCT, AYP and HIV/AIDS situation in order to tackle the menace in the country.
Musa said: “The aim is also to review and document programme of the media in the state in supporting the dissemination of PMTCT, AYP and HIV/AIDs messages.
“To leverage airtime and produce links for dissemination PMTCT, AYP/HIV and AIDS messages and to develop media plans by the participating media organisations for implementation.”
Musa called on the media to continue to educate the public on the dangers of the scourge considering its negative effect to societal development.
He said that UNICEF in collaboration with the Nasarawa State Government had developed a workplan to run from 2018 to 2019 with focus on PMTCT and AYP issues to curb the rising menace of the scourge in the state.