HIV In Imo State: Despite Spike In Test Infection Rate Prevalence Has Dropped Drastically
Caritas Nigeria, an NGO, has continued to forge ahead with the Imo State HIV Surge Consortium in partnership with the state government which was inaugurated on September 19th in Owerri.
Caritas Nigeria, the United States Centre for Disease Control (US-CDC) and the Imo State government are bent on reducing the rate of infections which has reached a pandemic level.
Piggy backing on this, the Chairman of Imo Assembly Committee on Health Kennedy Ibe (ABOVE), promised to help in ensuring speedy passage of bills that would aid the fight against HIV. Ibe also assured that his committee would work hard to facilitate increased budgetary allocations to Imo health sector.
In addition to this, Eze Samuel Ohiri, Chairman of Imo Council of Traditional Rulers (BELOW) , condemned the stigmatisation of persons living with HIV, while urging Imo residents to avoid unprotected intercourse
Related: Coronavirus: 18-man Chinese Medical Team Nigeria Bound
Earlier on and as reported by the Awareness last month, Mr Ayodele Fagbemi from the US-CDC, said that among 133, 792 persons tested for HIV between January and June, 3,891 tested positive, while 18,205 persons were currently on Anti Retro-viral Therapy (ART). CLICK HERE FOR THAT REPORT
Despite these alarming numbers Mr G.E Nna representing the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, shared the following:
”According to the National Indicator and Impact Survey, we are just about 5 feet away from gold with the Imo HIV prevalence dropping from 14 per cent in 2014 to 1.8 per cent in June 2019,”
So there actually has been an improvement from the mind boggling infection rate from five years ago. So it is vital that this new spike is addressed.
The traditional ruler and renowned scientist urged partner organisations to embark on long-term investments in the state such as building pharmaceutical companies to produce generic anti retro-viral drugs. According to him, this will not only help in fighting the scourge, but also create employment and take the youth away from prostitution, thereby reducing the prevalence rate of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Mr Ayodele Fagbemi (ABOVE) also thanked Eze Samuel Ohiri for donating 5,000 quick check HIV test kits which contributed to the test of 4,225 persons and allowed for speedier and more accurate sampling of infections within the citizenry. This was especially true for the youth and students that normally boycotted tedious testing procedures seeking almost instant results.
But there is more good news, because the PREVALENCE RATE as recently released by the National Agency for the Control of Aids in Imo has fallen by another 0.2 per cent to 1.6. Nevertheless it is still 0.2 per cent higher than the national average which is 1.4 per cent.