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Obasanjo Notes Decline in HIV Prevalence Rate in Nigeria

PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2006 12:45 am
by Richard Akindele
President Olusegun Obasanjo on May 4 in Abuja declared that Nigeria has consistently recorded a decline in the prevalence rate of Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in the last five years.

The President stated this at the on-gong review meeting on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, organised by the African Union (AU) noting that the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS infection which stood at 5.8 per cent in 2001, dropped to 5.0 percent in 2003 and to 4.4 percent in 2005.

He disclosed that 50,000 persons living with the virus in the country are now on anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment while the Federal Government plans to raise the number of beneficiaries to 250,000 by 2007.

President Obasanjo however noted that a lot more needed to be done in the areas of advocacy and direct management of AIDS and appealed to the international community to do more to fight the virus in Africa.

He added that to sustain the present tempo of the fight over the next five years would require more than $9 billion and that the bulk of the amount would come from the international community, warning that: "There is nothing as dangerous as the reversal of treatment, programmes and policies."

He stressed the need to double the global fund on HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis control so that the continent can achieve its projected universal access to the drugs to fight those diseases by 2010.

The President who stated that the greatest stigma any human being can suffer is the stigma of rejection from the society and community in which one lives, offered a woman living with HIV/AIDS, and a victim of "total rejection" from her people Mrs. Maryam Tamoko, a sewing machine and a shop in Abuja for her trade noting that what happened to Maryam was an indication that a lot needed to be done in the area of enlightenment.

He said that the government had sent a bill to the National Assembly to prevent discrimination against people living with the HIV/AIDS, adding that such people needed support, understanding and appreciation from their communities.

Source: Nigeria First