September 27, 2021

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HIV: Identifying mode of spread, key to achieving zero transmission – NACA

 Dr Gambo Aliyu, the Director-General, NACA, says identification of mode of HIV transmission is key to controlling the spread

By Ikenna Osuoha

Dr Gambo Aliyu, the Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), says identification of mode of HIV transmission is key not only to controlling the pandemic but achieving zero HIV transmission in the country.

Aliyu said this while disseminating the report of the study on the Mode of HIV Transmission in Abuja on Monday.

He identified four groups namely: never married males, never married females, men who have sex with men and female sex workers,
as risky populations.

The NACA boss, who expressed the commitment of the agency in achieving the 95-95-95 target by the year 2030, said the study would help stakeholders to focus attention on the risky populations.

He added that “time is running out for us in achieving the 95-95-95 target for 2030 but this study will help us to know where to invest resources in tackling transmission.

“There is no way we can prevent new infections or control HIV transmission without identifying those areas that trigger new infections.”

Presenting the study, Mr Tosin Adebayo, the Chief Programme Officer, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation of NACA, said that the largest number of new infections was among never married females and males.

Adebayo said that men who have sex with men, female sex workers as well as never married females and males account for 91 per cent of new infections among adults.

He added that new 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.

The programme officer noted that the distribution of new infections vary from state to state, saying that larger proportion of new infections occur among never married individuals or in sero-concordant negative couples.

He explained that antenatal care was vital in reducing new infections, especially mother-to-child transmission.

“Most of those women who do attend antenatal care get tested for HIV but more than 60 per cent of pregnant women do not attend.

“Increasing antenatal care attendance would have benefits not only for reducing HIV transmission but also for the overall health of the child and mother.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigeria’s HIV prevalence rate is decreasing, having dropped from 2.8 per cent to 1.4 per cent currently. (NAN)

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