The Commissioner for Health in Ogun State, Dr. Tomi Coker says the state still tops the ladder of HIV prevalence in the Southwest States with more than 20, 827 people living with the virus in the state.
Just as she hinted that 105 positive cases of the HIV were recorded in the state during the COVID – 19 lockdown.
Coker said this in Abeokuta at a press conference on the 2020 World AIDS Day with the theme “United to end AIDS in the midst of COVID – 19.”
The Commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Hospital Management Board, Dr Nafiu Aigoro, said the patients have been placed on Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) to keep the HIV under control.
According to her, Ogun has prevalence rate of 1.6 percent, placing the state on the ladder in Southwest.
She said HIV prevalence rate in other states include, Lagos – 1.4%; Ondo – 1.1%; Oyo – 0.9% and Osun with 0.9%.
The Commissioner attributed drivers of the HIV epidemic in the state to poverty, low literacy level, stigma and discrimination, low political will, low use of condom and risky sexual behaviour.
She also blamed the prevalence on the state’s proximity to the international borders as well as the influx of people into the state from Lagos and other states for commercial purposes.
Coker said “The first case of HIV and AIDS in Ogun State was reported in 1990. In 1999, when the first HIV/AIDS zero-prevalence sentinel survey was carried out the prevalence rate was 2.5 percent.
“In 2001, it rose to 3.5 percent and recorded a drop in 2003 to 1.5 percent and a rise again to 3.6 percent in 2005. In 2008, it dropped to 1.7 percent in 2010, it was 3.1 percent, in 2012 (NARHS) the prevalence was 2.9 percent.
“Ogun State presently has a prevalence rate of 1.6 percent (NAIIS 2018). This is noted to be above the national prevalence (1.4percent) and is also the highest in the Southwest.”
She added that despite the COVID – 19 pandemic, “49,211 persons have been counselled, tested and given results out of which 105 were tested positive.”
The Commissioner vowed that the state would not allow fight against COVID – 19 to overshadow the effort to get rid of the HIV/AIDS, saying the facilities providing HIV Testing services (HTS) in the State have been severally increased from 86 in 2014 to 431 sites.