Minna – The Niger State Ministry of Health Services said the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the State has decreased drastically from 4 per cent to 1.7 per cent.
The Director of Medical Services in the ministry, Dr Abdullahi Imam, announced this at a news conference in Minna on Monday.
Imam, who stood in for the Permanent Secretary, Dr Ibrahim Tiffin, said the figure was below the national average of three per cent and lowest in the North Central Zone.
The director said the figure was based on a survey conducted on women who attended Ante-Natal Clinic in the state.
“It is with excitement that Niger will commemorate the 27th World AIDS Day because the disease is under control in Niger as the state is the lowest affected in the North Central Zone’’, he said.
Imam commended the UNAIDS 2015 report that indicated that Nigeria was among the countries that had halted the spread and reversed the trend of HIV epidemic.
He said that the World AIDS Day commemoration was also driven towards the challenges the virus had posed to mankind and called for a renewed commitment to fight it.
“This year’s commemoration is also aimed at increasing awareness, educating the people, fighting prejudice and remembering the victims of AIDS”, he said.
The director said that the state government had initiated a number of strategies to eradicate the disease by 2030.
According to him, the state is repositioning the Niger State Agency for the Control of AIDS (SACA), through the development of state HIV operational plan 2015 to 2016 and activation of 36 primary health care facilities.
He said the state would establish blood banks for safe blood transfusion and supply of six additional CD4 count machine in six Local Government Areas.
Earlier, Dr Adamu Baba, Director General for the State Agency for the Control of AIDS stressed the need to know their status so as to tackle the virus.
“People should come out to assess their HIV status, at the early stage of infection. That is the entry point and if one’s status is discovered in time, appropriate measures are then taken.
“Both sides are blessing because if one is negative the person begins treatment early and live a normal quality life and if negative, the person knows how to maintain being negative all through his or her life’’, he said.
Baba called on people of the state to participate in the rally on the Dec. 1 as there would be free testing of HIV/AIDs at the rally.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) also reports that UNDP, SACA and other health stakeholders attended the event. (NAN)