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One Million Living With HIV/AIDS In Lagos

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO L-R: PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF HEALTH, DR (MRS) FEMI TAIWO, COMMISSIONER FOR hEALTH, DR JIDE IDRIS AND SPECIAL ADVISER ON HEALTH, MR TOYIN AMZAT DURING THE WORLD AIDS DAY CELEBRATION IN LAGOS.
PHOTO L-R: PERMANENT SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF HEALTH, DR (MRS) FEMI TAIWO, COMMISSIONER FOR hEALTH, DR JIDE IDRIS AND SPECIAL ADVISER ON HEALTH, MR TOYIN AMZAT DURING THE WORLD AIDS DAY CELEBRATION IN LAGOS.
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LAGOS, Dec 01, (THEWILL) - No fewer than one million persons are currently living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency (AIDS) in Lagos State, a figure which represents fairly above 5 percent of the state population.

With an estimated population of 18 million, this simply suggests that one out of every eighteen resident of Lagos is infected with the killer disease, a situation which the state Commissioner for Health described as worrisome.

The commissioner spoke today at the 2010 celebration of World AIDS Day, which was held at the state secretariat in Alausa where he put the current prevalence rate of the pandemic in the state now at 5.1 percent.

At the conference along with Special Adviser on Health, Mr. Toyin Amzat; Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr. Femi Taiwo and HIV/AIDS Coordinator, Dr. Olusoga Oduwole, the Commissioner said the incidents of HIV/AIDS was on the sentinel surveys carried out between a period of January 2010 and October 2010.

Idris, who discussed theme of the 2010 World AIDS Day: Universal Access and Human Rights, explained that Lagos State “has almost one million people infected with HIV/AIDS (an estimate from the prevalence rate and state population of 18 million). “The sentinel surveys carried out in Lagos has confirmed a steady, though inconsistent increase in the number of HIV infected people. At presence, the prevalence rate in the state currently stands at 5.1 percent,” he said.

Idris explained the surge in the number of people living with the pandemic on what he described as the massive influx of people into Lagos metropolis from almost all states in the federation by the day, a situation which was said to have put the Government of Lagos State under undue pressure.

Despite the state HIV/AIDS records, Idris said, the administration of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) continues to work with various partners, which he said, include non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based organisations (FBOs), community-based organisations (CBOs), line ministries and donor agencies.

He said more than 115,000 persons “were tested for the pandemic in the state health facilities alone between January 2010 and October 2010. Within the same timeframe, over 28,000 pregnant women tested in the state hospitals, out of which 1,051 tested positive while just 35,000 clients enrolled in the anti-retroviral therapy (ART) programme.”

He explained various efforts of the state government aimed at ensuring its residents access to HIV/AIDS preventive and curative services as well as enhancing the health of people living with HIV/AIDS through nutritional programmes.

He said there “are presently 56 HIV Counseling and Testing (HCT) sites spread across the state. The number of preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) sites is 40; the number of adult ART sites is 29; and pediatrics ART sites.

“Developmental partners, which UNICEF, UNFPA, Clinton Foundation and CIDA/WHO and implementing partners, which include FHI/GHAIN, IHVN, ALCO and AFRICARE are committed to the cause along with the state government towards improved access to HIVAIDS servicers in the state,” the commissioner explained.

He said the state “is a trail blazer in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. It was the first state in Nigeria that recognised the epidemic impact of the disease in 1999 and set up a foundation, which later became the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) in 2000.

“The first reported case of HIV/AIDS in Lagos State was in 1986. Since its establishment by the immediate past administration of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, LSACA has done nothing short of leading the war against HIV/AIDS its numerous activities of prevention and control of the spread of the pandemic,” the commissioner added.