Despite the aggressive enlightenment campaign by the government, as well as several donor agencies, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Akwa Ibom State remains high.
Akwa Ibom had in successive years maintained the number one position as a state with the highest burden of HIV in Nigeria, with 5.5%, according to Nigeria HIV/AIDs Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS).
The number one position, though infamous, has left much to be worried about.
According to Akwa Ibom State programme data 2022, about 240,000 persons are currently on treatment of HIV/AIDS in the State.
From the number, HIV gender disparity between females and males is high due to biological and social reasons showing that females are the worst hit.
“HIV prevalence was greatest among younger adults, with females aged 20-24 years (1.3%) having almost four times the prevalence of males in the same age group (0.4%).
As at June 2023, 10,833 adolescents and young persons were on medications hence the need for positive living to ensure they adhere to viral suppression and epidemic control,” the survey revealed.
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Dr Edith Mathias Igbemi told DAILY POST during a sensitization programme on HIV/AIDS in the state that women are recording high prevalence of HIV.
She called for more awareness on control measures.
She highlighted LGAs with high prevalence of HIV in Akwa Ibom to include Ikono, Obot Akara, Ikot Ekpene, Uyo, Uruan, Ibesikpo, Nsit Ubium, Eket, Ibeno and Oron.
Igbemi noted that the State had made some progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS in terms of improved case finding through Index Case Testing, Camping and Creek Testing modalities.
She revealed that with the breakthrough recorded, the 2021 publication of Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health, estimated that the prevalence rate had dropped to 4.4 per cent, adding that this is subject to approval by NACA in another survey.
She, however, called for more collaboration with Stakeholders and Development partners in escalating HIV prevention activities to adolescents and young girls in the State.
Speaking with Mrs Cecilia Ekanem, a health worker with ECEWS in the Primary Health Centre, Wellington Bassey Way, Uyo, she identified low access to antenatal care by some pregnant women as one of the factors contributing to the spread of HIV spread, especially from mother to child in the State.