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Tuesday, March 19, 2019




The Nigeria Aids Indicator and Impact survey (NAIIS), was carried out throughout the country in the third and fourth quarter of 2018,the findings were unveiled by His Excellency Muhammadu Buhari, President Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 14th of March 2019 at the Presidential villa Abuja

It is no longer news that the findings revealed   that   Akwa   Ibom   state   has   a   HIV   prevalence   of   5.5% against the National prevalence of 1.4% for the age group 15 to 64years. The value for Akwa Ibom is reported to be the highest in the country. I wish to recall that in 2017 the state government in conjunction with FHI 360 and other partners, with funding from USAID, carried out   a   cross   sectional   population   based   survey,   Akwa   Ibom   AIDS Indicator Survey (AKAIS 2017), similar to NAIIS in methodology onthe   prevalence   and   incidence   of   HIV   in   the   state.   The   result   as disseminated in November 2017 showed a prevalence of 4.8% for the  age group 15 to 69 years. Statistically this two results 5.5%, (2018) and 4.8%, (2017) for NAIIS and AKAIS respectively are within the same 95% confidence interval ranging from 4.7 to 6.3 percent.Therefore the results scienti"cally similar despite the little change in   figures,   The   slight   difference   between   the  NAIIS   and   AKAIS prevalence can be attributed to the sample population size, about 16,000 in AKAIS 2017 and about 8000 in NAIIS 2018, making AKAIS sample  size   twice   the   size   in   NAIIS,  making   AKAIS   result   more precise.

However, the fact remains that the HIV prevalence in the state is on the decline just as shown below.
The last nationally accepted HIV survey, prior to the NAIIS survey in 2018   was   the  ANC   SENTINEL   study  in   2014   and   the   National prevalence was 3% while Akwa Ibom state prevalence was 10.8%. Arguably as it is being reported that the national prevalence has dropped   from  3%   (2014)   to   1.4%   (2018),  similarly   that  of   Akwa Ibom State has dropped from 10.8% (2014) to 5.5% (2018). The   location   of   the   state   with   a   large   coastal   front   of   129   Km stretching from Ikot Abasi to Oron, an airport, good road net work peaceful   atmosphere,   friendly   disposition   of   our   people,   good cuisines   and   fast   developing   economy   have   made   our   state   the destination of choice for both national and international visitors. All these  are not without attendant public health consequences, like1
transmission of communicable diseases which HIV/AIDS cannot be excluded.

However   the   state   government   under   the   able   leadership   of   His Excellency,  Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, the governor of Akwa Ibom State   is   not   only   committed   to   providing   infrastructure   and industries to its citizens but its also committed to the health and wellbeing   of   its   people.   To   this   end   huge   resources   have   been committed towards  improving the   health care  delivery system  of the state. The current HIV/AIDS situation in the state calls for a more robust multi-sectoral response towards curbing the epidemic in the state. Consequently   the   state   government   will   step   up   collaboration through Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of AIDS (AKSACA)and Akwa Ibom State HIV /AIDS and STI Control Progamme (SASCP) with   Implementing   Partners,   Faith   Based   Organizations,   People Living   with   HIV   /   AIDs,   (PLHIV)   and   other   stakeholders   towards proffering immediate and long term interventions for the state. The immediate measures will be as follows:

1. Increasing access to HIV testing services, by providing enough rapid   test   kits   whereby   all   primary   health   centers   and secondary health facilities in the state will be able to provide free HIV testing services to its citizens.

2. Increasing   access   to   treatment   by   creating   3   new comprehensive treatment centres, 1 per senatorial district to be   fully   supported   by   the   state   government   these   will compliment other comprehensive treatment centres supported by international partners.

3. The   State   Primary   Health   Care   Development   Board, inaugurated by the Executive Governor recently is working had to kick start its activities, which includes management of our primary   health   centres,   this   will   impact   positively   on   the service delivery in these health facilities.

4. Embarking   on   state   wide   community   outreaches   and enlightenment campaigns to create demand for the uptake of HIV services. I therefore appeal to the media to be partners in this   project   by   incorporating   jingles,   news   promo   and   talk
shows and media chats on HIV at no cost, to support the fight against the transmission of the virus.

5. Strategizing   for   effective  intervention  among drivers  of   new infections namely young adults females and members of the key population, by designing interventions that are gender and youth friendly. This is in line with the new national strategic frame work 2019- 2023. The Long term measures will include:

1. We will lead advocacy to the local government councils in the state   to   lend   regular   and   dedicated   support   for   HIV intervention   and   other   health   programs   in   their   respective Local Government Areas.
2. We   will   also   lead   advocacy   to   the   legislative   arm   of government to put in place laws to protect people living with HIV and to curb transmission of   new  infections, by   expeditiously  deliberating and passing the bill on Anti Stigma and Discrimination against people living with HIV and Aids. Secondly initiate the process of   developing   a   bill   to   prosecute   persons   found   to   willfully infect or transmit the virus to other people. In conclusion I wish to appreciate the Federal Ministry of Health, National agency for the control of Aids (NACA), USAIDS and Global fund and others who have contributed to a successful conduct of the   survey.   We   also   extend   our   gratitude   to   our   implementing partners for their continuous support towards reducing the scourge of HIV in the state.

The State government will continue to create an enabling environment for existing partners and will gladly welcome new partners. Finally we all know that HIV is transmitted mainly by unprotected sexual contact with infected persons hence, Akwa Ibomites should imbibe the simple ABCs of HIV prevention, namely:
1. Abstinence
2. Being faithful to one's Partner
3. Correct and Consistence Condom Use
4. Refraining   from   the   use   of   illicit   Drugs,   which   could   be injectable or otherwise.
I therefore urge all Akwa Ibomites to stand up and fight to stop the transmission of HIV virus, we all have a part to play no matter how little.
Thank you very much, long live Akwa Ibom State.

Dr Dominic I Ukpong.
Hon Commissioner for Health

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