Anambra identifies 50 homosexual, 618 prostitution spots


Anambra government says it has identified over 50 homosexual and 618 prostitution spots as HIV and AIDS high-risk targets in the state.

The Director of the state’s AIDS Control Agency (ANSACA), Dr John Ndibe, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Onitsha, Anambra, that the government would use its limited funds to target such spots and ensure that people operating these places were educated on the need to protect themselves and their clients from the deadly scourge.

Ndibe said that the agency, as a co-ordinating agency on HIV and AIDS activities, was committed to making sure that it gets the mother-to-child transmission of HIV and AIDS to a zero level in the state as directed by President Goodluck Jonathan.

He said that the agency had conducted a survey of high-risk factors and spots for HIV and AIDS in the state in order to effectively cut the transmission of the deadly virus.

“Part of the result of the epidemic report was to identify spots where they operate; now having identified spots were they operate and we have an estimate of their numbers.

“We now use the hard funds to target them in those places so that even if they continue with their trade, they will be doing it in a safe way, in such a way that they don't transmit infection because basically that is what we want to do.

“They say prostitution is one of the oldest profession, you may not be able to actually stop it but you can target them with HIV services in such a way that they don't transmit infection to their clients.

“Because once you break that transmission, then the spread of HIV would start begin to decline, so we are aware.  We have identified about 618 spots in Anambra State, where female sexual workers operate.

“So when we are running our programme we now target those sites with services. We have identified, I think about 50, where we have men having sex with men; because these are the things people don't know exist, you know, but the study was able to identify those sites and they are documented.

“So when we now start programming, we now reach them in those sites with services. “You know, having sex, a man having sex with a follow man carries a high risk of transmission because it is not the course of the nature, there is more tearing during such sex and whenever there is tearing and there is blood, the risk of transmission is higher.“

Ndibe said that the agency was working with NGOs, community based organisations, secondary and tertiary institutions as well as churches and women groups to deliver the HIV and AIDS message.

“People should know the ABC in HIV and AIDS prevention; which A stands for Abstinence; B for Being faithful to your partners and C for using Condom anytime someone is having causal sex.''

NAN recalls that a recent national survey of pregnant women attending anti-natal in Anambra shows that 8.7 per cent of them are living with HIV and AIDS. (NAN)