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One Out of Seven Children in Nigeria are HIV Positive: UNICEF

Only 36 percent of the 150,000 children infected with HIV have access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy in Nigeria

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Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga
Hamzat Ibrahim Abaga is a graduate of Mass Communication and aspiring investigative journalist.

NIGERIA: In Nigeria, one out of seven children has Human Immune Virus (HIV). The country is leading the world’s HIV infection tally with 21,000 infections says Chief of Health, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Dr. Eduardo Celades. Nigeria has the second-largest HIV epidemic in the world.

HIV epidemic in Nigeria

Nigeria isn’t only dealing with the HIV epidemic at the moment. However, HIV prevalence among the general population is high. Certain groups still carry a far greater HIV burden compared to the rest of the population.

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In Nigeria, sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs make up only 3.4% of the population. Yet they account for around 32% of new infections.

Celades said that a country-level consultation is important to increase access and intensify commitment to scaling up diagnosis and treatment of paediatric HIV and TB in Nigeria.

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“There is an urgent need for the Nigerian government to swing into action as the number of infected cases keeps soaring daily,” Celades noted.

Nigeria is making remarkable progress in fighting against HIV/AIDS. The country presently has 1.7 million of 1.49 million Nigerians who are infected with the virus and are under medical care. 72 percent of the affected persons are silent. 

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According to the reports, only 36 percent of the 150,000 children infected with HIV have access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy in Nigeria. Now, with the development of the National Acceleration Plan for Paediatric and adolescent HIV Treatment and Care (2020-2022) some progress has been made.

During the event, Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Aliyu Gumel Gambo noted that Nigeria has the most cases of persons affected with TB.

With an estimated number of 316 per 100,000 people, HIV-positive cases are 17 per 100,000, with a death rate of 13 per 100,000.

AIDS prevalence among adults is much less (1.3%) in Nigeria than in other sub-Saharan African countries such as South Africa (19%) and Zambia (11.5%). However, the size of Nigeria’s population means 1.8 million people were living with AIDS in 2019.

Also Read: Nigerian Government, United States Sign Deal on Education, Health, Other Sectors

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