…says 2,209 pregnant women test positive in 2023
As Niger state government joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World AIDS Day, it says over thirty four thousand eight hundred persons are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the state, adding that the prevalent rate is as a result of the activities of tanker drivers in parts of the state.
Making this known as part of activities to mark this year’s World AIDS Day, the Commissioner for Niger state Ministry of Secondary and Tertiary Health Care, Dr. Tukur Bello said during a press briefing organized by the Ministry in collaboration with the State Agency for the Control of Aids and Implementation Partners that the rate of HIV case this year is 34,898 compared to last year’s 37,200.
According to the Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Dr. Mohammed Gana “tgr total number of persons living with HIV and receiving treatment in the state stands at 34,898.
“In addition, between January to October, 2023, a total of 28,268 pregnant women who attended Antenatal (ANC) were counseled, tested and received results. Out of which 2,209 were tested positive and 2,187 (99%) of them were linked to treatment services”.
He stated that with this year’s theme: Let communities lead, the state’s target is to achieve epidemic control and halt new infections by the year 2030 in line with global targets.
Responding to questions on the reason why there is prevalent rate is some local government areas, the National Clinical Mentor, Niger state, Dr. Michael Onyilo, said it is caused mainly by the activities of tanker drivers who stop at various transit LGAs across the state.
Some of the local government areas with prevalent rate according to him include Chanchaga, Suleja, Kontagora, New Bussa, Bida, Agaie, Lapai and this he said is because of tanker drivers’ activities as these are transit areas.
He further stated that “the main drivers of the epidemic in the state are female sex workers, men who have sex with men, transgender, persons in Correctional facilities and persons who inject drugs.
“Factors associated with the transmission of new infections include early sexual debut, poor premarital screening for HIV, Sub-optimal HIV testing services especially amongst children and adolescents. Poor knowledge on pre-exposure prophylaxis and post exposure prophylaxis services.
“Others are transfusion of unscreened blood among quacks, stigma and discrimination. It is important to note that deliveries by unskilled personnel have been shown to be a major factor that increases mother to child transmission of HIV”.
In his welcome remarks, the Acting Director General of SACA, Umar Ishaku said the state needs to achieve and put an halt to infections and to bridge the gap, is to continue to create awareness.
Also, Head of People living with HIV/AIDS, Angela Laki while calling on the government to encourage those affected by the Virus in all areas possible, charged members of the HIV community to be encouraged so that the spread of the virus can be reduced.