By Benprince Ezeh
Despite various interventions over the years to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Lagos State, the state is still ranked seventh among the states with highest prevalence. The United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, estimated that six states in Nigeria account for 41 percent of the people living with the virus, including Lagos, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Oyo and Kano States.
But the tide may change soon. While formally disseminating the Nigeria 2018 HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, NAIIS, result disaggregated by local governments in Lagos, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu said the result was important considering that Lagos has been identified by UNAIDS as one of the 15 priorities places accounting for about 3 million people living with HIV globally.
He also inaugurated the Lagos State HIV Consortium Group, which will serve as a platform for all stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate, sustain and improve response to achieving the 90:90:90 target for the state.
The NAIIS, one of the world’s largest household-based surveys that assessed the prevalence of HIV and related health indicators, included data on national, zonal, and state information on the control of the virus in Nigeria.
According to the survey, data collection in Lagos was done from July through September 2018. Data were collected from household members aged 0-64 years. Home-based HIV counseling and testing services were provided to people who participated in the survey, while participants that tested positive were linked to treatment services.
The key findings of the survey revealed that the prevalence of HIV among adults aged 15-64 years was 1.4 percent; 1.9 among females; 0.8 among males; while the prevalence of HIV among children aged 0-14 years was 0.2 percent, 0.2 percent among females and 0.3 percent among males.
The Eti-Osa Local Government Area has the highest HIV prevalence in the state, which is 3.3 percent. The prevalence was among persons aged 15-64 years in the local government. It was followed by Ikeja, Ojo, Epe, Ajeromi Ifelodun, Oshodi-Isolo, and Apapa.
Alimosho has the lowest HIV prevalence, including Lagos Mainland, Agege, Shomolu, Surulere, and LGAs stand in the middle.
According to him, although the current prevalence rate shows a reduction, which is 1.4, it is still a source of worry considering the actual number of people within the bracket. “There is a need for us to step up our efforts to achieve further reduction in the prevalence rate through aggressive public enlightenment campaign, which must be taken to nooks and crannies of the state and solve all these issues within the shortest possible time.
The governor also reiterated that the state government is committed to achieving this goal as part of its health and environment pillar under the one-health agenda. He said that the strategy was multi-sectorial and focused on scaling up the community response, maintain and sustain support programme, reaching out to people with prevention, care and support as well as treatment, promoting human rights and dealing with gender issues.
“The keynote of Lagos State government, therefore, is for the reduction in the number of new HIV infections and this is being coordinated by LSACA, utilising a multi-sectorial approachor the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS. This goal is in line with the UNAIDS 90:90:90 initiative,” he said.
Akin Abayomi, Lagos state Commissioner for Health, in his goodwill message, said people should not get frightened about getting diagnosed with HIV as it is no longer a death sentence.
According to him, it is important to go on treatment, adhere to medication, and continue with their life. “Today is not a ceremony to highlight our successes in Lagos. We should remember the number of people that have died during a period we did not understand the disease; no medication throughout the world. We should sympathise with the family of those who have lost their lives through HIV/AIDS,” he said
Monsurat Adeleke, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Lagos State Aids Control Agency, LSACA, said that about 120,000 people are still living with HIV/AIDS in Lagos State. “So far this year, the state, in collaboration with implementing partners and other stakeholders, has provided HIV testing services to 101,123 people in the communities (non-health sector) and 408,817 clients in the facilities (health sector) with over 78,080 clients currently on treatment.
Adeleke also stated that the state government was determined to meet the United Nations 90-90-90 target come 2020. “The UNAIDS 90-90-90 initiative expects at least 90 percent of all people living with HIV to know their status by 2020; 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will be receiving sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression,” she said.
– Dec. 1, 2019 @ 13:00 GMT |