BLOG: AIDS kills 215,000 Nigerians annually – NACA

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS has said about 215,000 persons die from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome annually.

The agency also identified stigmatisation and discrimination as factors discouraging access to drugs by carriers of Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

The Director-General, NACA, Prof. John Idoko, in an interview with our correspondent, said the last survey for HIV was done in 2010 among pregnant women across the country, as recommended by the World Health Organisation to establish the HIV prevalence in developing countries, and it showed 4.1 per cent prevalence.

He explained that pregnant women were used to mirror the general population, adding that the biennial survey would be done at the end of 2012.

He said, “No fatality rate can be actually calculated, since we do not have actual figures of the numbers of people dying annually from AIDS. However, it is estimated from modelling that there are 215,000 deaths annually.

“Antiretroviral drugs are free and people are getting them free. However, there are challenges when people living with HIV/AIDS do not access these drugs from their nearest antiretroviral therapy sites, usually due to stigma and discrimination. Sometimes, there are temporary issues with distribution of the drugs from the various warehouses to health facilities and clinics.”

Idoko said there was no cure for the ailment in sight, particularly from the traditional medicine operators. He, however, called for more funding of research in the quest for the cure.

The NACA boss, who said it was untrue that government spent more money on AIDS than other diseases in the country, however, said 74 per cent of the funds spent on HIV/AIDS came from donors. He added that the agency was working hard to get more domestic funding.

Punch

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