Women, men who are never married contribute 64% of new HIV transmission – Official

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A new report by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has shown that never married young men and women contribute 64 per cent of new HIV/AIDS transmission in the country.

The report also shows that never married women contribute more to HIV infections in the country than men.

The Director General of the agency, Gambo Aliyu, while disclosing findings of the study in Abuja on Monday, said the never married population, which is the largest source of new infections, is mostly between the ages of 17 to 34 for females and 19-31 for men.

“The next largest number of new infections occur among Female Sex Workers and Men who have Sex with Men. These four population groups account for about 91 per cent of all new infections among adults.”

New study

Mr Aliyu said the study was carried out with the Incidence Pattern Model to support efforts geared towards preventing new HIV infections using accurate information.

He said this clearly shows where new infections are occurring and among which population group.

Mr Aliyu said the agency, with development partners, has been working on strategies to halt the spread of the disease and contain the epidemic.

He explained that the study has given the country a new direction on innovative ways to focus its attention and utilise resources to curtail the infection.

“To this end, the Mode of Transmission Study (MOT), which focuses on identifying the sources of new infections in the country and was first conducted in 2009, was recently repeated, using an updated model known as the Incidence Pattern Model (IPM).

Mother-to-child transmission

Mr Aliyu said the report shows that child infections due to Mother to Child Transmission represent the second largest source of new infections, accounting for 22 per cent of all new infections.

He said the agency would also resort to conducting home visitations to pregnant women to ensure that mother-to-child transmission is also prevented.

ALSO READ: Nigeria contributed ‘paltry’ 18% of $6.2bn spent on HIV/AIDS in 13 years – NACA DG

“The new infections through newborns are due to low coverage of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT). Efforts will be targeted at encouraging women to attend Antenatal Care (ANC) especially in high prevalence states.”

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“To reduce child infections due to Mother-to-Child-Transmission (MTCT), we must go beyond the hospital and go to the communities to deliver services.”

Adopted strategies

Speaking on strategies adopted by NACA to reach out and cover the targeted population, Mr Aliyu said the challenge is that the young ones do not connect to already existing facilities provided for accessing HIV prevention services.

He said: “These young ones do not connect to the services; they don’t even want to listen or access these available services.

“So, our challenge is to improve coverage and we are planning to do that by going beyond the facilities and hospitals, we are extending services to communities and even at the comfort of their homes.”

He said special efforts are needed to reach this population in schools, workplaces, gathering spots and through social media.

Meanwhile, the result from the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) ,which was conducted in 2018, shows that about 1.9 million people under the age of 64 are living with HIV in Nigeria.

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