Anambra State Aids Control Agency (ANSACA) has revealed that approximately 98,960 individuals currently live with HIV/AIDS in the state.
Dr Afam Obidike, Anambra’s Commissioner for Health, disclosed this information during a press briefing in Awka ahead of the 2023 World AIDS Day, which is marked annually on December 1st.
The global theme for this year’s World AIDS Day, “Let Communities Lead,” was tailored in Nigeria as ‘Communities’ Leadership to end AIDS by 2030.’
Dr Obidike highlighted that the state’s HIV prevalence stands at 1.4%, ranking Anambra as the 5th highest in Nigeria and the highest within the South East region.
His words: “With the national prevalence of 1.4 per cent, our state HIV prevalence is ranked 5th highest in the country and the highest in South East.
“It is estimated that 98,960 residents are living with HIV, out of which 58 per cent know their status and only 44,808 are currently on treatment.”
He noted the state’s progress toward achieving the Global 95-95-95 targets, indicating they are at 65:81:93, with a 46% reduction in new infections and a 32% decrease in AIDS-related deaths from 2021 to 2023.
Emphasizing the importance of Prevention of Mother-to-child Transmission services, Dr Obidike stressed that HIV, with access to Anti Retro-viral Therapy (ART), is no longer a death sentence.
Dr Afam Anaeme, Director of Public Health, highlighted HIV/AIDS as a public health concern, outlining its modes of transmission. He emphasized the need for community involvement in planning, implementation, and monitoring of HIV programs to ensure access to essential prevention, treatment, and care services.
Johnbosco Ementa, the Executive Director of ANSACA, urged residents to utilize the free testing centres across the state, revealing that the government had expanded HIV treatment sites and implemented various testing methods to enhance coverage and accessibility, expressing gratitude to collaborating partners for their support.