Speaking at the unveiling of NAIIS, a national household-based survey on the prevalence of Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) and related health indicators, at the State House Conference Centre in Abuja, the president said, "we can not celebrate yet, as nearly a million Nigerians living with HIV are now not on treatment".
The recent drop in Nigeria's HIV epidemic with Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) revealing a significant progress has excited partners, particularly the United States of America government. Before now, about 3.2 million people were estimated to be living with the virus in Nigeria, ranking second after South Africa which ranks first with about 7.1 million people living with HIV.
The South-South zone of the country has the highest HIV prevalence, at 3.1 per cent among those aged 15-49 years. The survey also showed that Northern Nigeria has a lower HIV/AIDS burden than south. "The official HIV prevalence for persons aged 15-49 years in Nigeria is now 1.4 per cent".
Dr. Sidibe referred to the results of a recently conducted survey on HIV launched by President Buhari which has indicated positive outcomes for HIV in Nigeria, especially with fewer infections and fewer people living with the disease.
"On behalf of the government and people of Nigeria, we'd like to express our profound gratitude to you and your organisation for the great cooperation extended to us to tackle this major health challenge", Onyeama said.
Mr Aliyu encouraged people living with HIV to get treatment and achieve viral suppression. Buhari said his government, since assumption of office, has paid particular and deliberate attention to careful planning as a way of implementing effective policies and achieving sustained change.
He added that the survey should however be used as a new beginning to do more work in the fight against the epidemic. "We know we can support HIV-positive mothers, hence ensuring the next generation is free from HIV".
Mr Michel Sidibe, the Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), commended NAIIS for a job well done, noting that the result of the survey will be a game changer for Nigeria.
She thanked development partners, whose support in the HIV response has been invaluable, and charged government at all levels to increase funding for HIV response using Nigeria's own domestic resources.
Dr Sani Aliyu, the Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), said that the generated survey would be taken to state governors who would be advised to latch on it to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their states. The survey reached around 220 000 people in about 100 000 households.
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