By Mustapha Sumaila
Abuja – The Federal Capital Territory (FCT’s) Agency For Control of HIV/AIDS (FACA) says not less than three million residents underwent HIV/AIDS test in 2016, with only three per cent positive cases.
Dr Uche Okoro, the Project Manager of the agency, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Abuja that Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) still has the highest figure of persons living with HIV followed by Bwari.
The manager revealed that 120,000 infected persons were taking treatments across health centres in FCT as at December 2016.
According to him, free testing and treatment has reduced the prevalence of the Human Immuno Virus (HIV) in the territory, and that the testing and treatment of the virus was a cost effective initiative.
He explained that Nigeria embraced the initiative in 2015 following the United Nations resolution at the 2014 high level General Assembly meeting on ending AIDS.
Okoro said FACA started the pilot programme of the test-and-treat initiative in two area councils of Abuja Municipal and Bwari in 2015, and that it has expanded to the remaining four area councils in 2017.
The official stated that the test-and-treat method had also served as preventive measure which is better and cheaper.
Okoro explained that immediately treatment begins for those infected and tested transmitting the virus becomes very difficult to other members of the public.
“There are cases we have here where one of the couple was infected with the virus and the other one was not. The infected one was taking the treatment and also still having sexual intercourse with his partner and did not infect her.
“And such couple had a baby; the child was also not infected because within six months of treatment, the viral load has dropped therefore such affected person cannot transmit it to others,” he said.
He maintained that treatment of a positive person is for life in spite of the fact the preventive measure adopted by government is aimed at reducing the HIV prevalence.
He said that FACA would continue to work with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and other development partners in Nigeria to eradicate the disease.