87 die of HIV/AIDS in Niger

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The Niger Government on Monday said 87 persons have lost their lives to HIV/ AIDS in the state this year.

Dr Muhammad Sidi, the Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Health and Hospital Services, disclosed this at news conference in Minna to mark the 2018 World AIDS Day (WAD).

Sidi also revealed that 3,000 patients living with the pandemic were receiving treatment across the state.

This year’s WAD, being the 30th in the series, has its theme as “Know Your Status’’.

He said that the prevalence of the pandemic in the state has reduced from 6.2 per cent in 2008 to 1.7 per cent in 2004.

“I must tell you that this is the lowest in the North Central region while putting the positive rate at 0.7 per cent currently,’’ he said.

The permanent secretary said that the joint assessment of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS conducted by his ministry and State Action Control on AIDS (SACA) in 2018 also confirmed that 51,712 pregnant women received HIV/AIDS counselling and testing in 25 facilities across the state.

He said that out of the figure, 731 patients who tested positive were already receiving the ARV prophylaxis.

Sidi added that out of the 137,253 volunteers who went through counselling and testing this year, 5,612 tested positive and have since started receiving the ARV services.

Malam Adamu Baba, the Director-General of the SACA, noted that stigma and discrimination still remains an enormous barrier to effective fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state.

“This is why persons living with the HIV/AIDS find it difficult to disclose their status to anybody for fear of rejection from relations and community,’’ he said.

Baba however lauded the state government for its priority attention to the health sector.

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