NIGERIA HIV/AIDS NEWS
2005 sentinel survey:Benue, Akwa Ibom most HIV endemic States
July 18, 2006 :: Josephine Lohor ThisDay,Lagos
Benue State has the higest incidence of HIV cases in the country with 10.0% prevalence level. This is followed by Akwa Ibom with 8.0, Nasarawa with 6.5, Enugu 6.5 and the Federal Capital Territory at 6.3.
The lowest state with the HIV prevalence however, is Ekiti with 1.6 and closely followed by Jigawa and Oyo with 1.8.
This was desclosed by President Olusegun Obasanno at a meeting with governors of states with the highest HIV prevalence. The president said the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria is a matter of serious concern as it can be found in all parts of the country although in varying proportion, adding that the results of the 2005 Survey "have further confirmed that the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Nigeria is a public health problem of enormous magnitude that must be given priority attention. It has affected all parts of our country with varying degrees of magnitude".
President Obasanjo had also disclosed that "although HIV prevalence was generally higher in urban sites than in rural sites, the difference was not statistically significant. Indeed in twelve states, ten of which are among the 15 in attendance today, had a higher rural prevalence. The highest site-specific prevalence of 14.4% was observed in Iquita-Oron, a rural site in Akwa-Ibom State".
Giving further insight into details of the survey conducted, he stated that "over the years, some States invited here such as Benue, Akwa Ibom and the FCT have been observed to have consistently high prevalence. This is very worrisome and has very serious implications for stability, productivity, growth and development. This situation calls for concerted efforts and pro-active strategies. Detailed socio-epidemiological and behavioral studies need to be undertaken in these areas to better understand the factors and forces that are fueling and sustaining the epidemic.
"We must, at individual and collective levels, examine our levels of commitment, policy coherence, institutional and advocacy capabilities and extraneous factors and forces that are fueling this rather alarming situation", he added.
The report also shows that other states that have the lowest HIV prevalence are Osun 2.0,Katsina 2.7,Kwara 2.8, Zamfara 3.0, Sokoto and Ondo 3.2, Lagos 3.3, Kano and Bauchi 3.4, Borno and Ogun 3.6, Delta and Yobe 3.7, Bayelsa 3.8, Imo 3.9 and Abia and Kebbi 4.0, Anambra and Adamawa at 4.2 and Ebonyi at 4.5.
Others are Edo at 4.6,Gombe at 4.9, Niger at 5.3, Rivers at 5.4, Kogi at 5.5, Kaduna at 5.6, Taraba and Cross River at 6.1.
President Obasanjo had also in his address while applauding efforts of States where the prevalence rate has continued to decline, added that "the Cross River State Government deserves special mention in this regard as its prevalence rate dropped from 12% in 2003 to about 6% in 2005. Though this is still above the national average, a near 50% decline in two years is especially commendable".