Shariah Zamfara State Maintains Lowest HIV Rate In North, Second Lowest In Nigeria
“Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world. Although HIV prevalence among adults is remarkably small (3.1%) compared to other sub-Saharan African countries such as South Africa (19.2%) and Zambia (12.9%), the size of Nigeria’s population means 3.5 million people were living with HIV in 2015.” 1
“HIV prevelance is highest in Nigeria’s southern states (known as the South South Zone), and stands at 5.5%. It is lowest in the southeast (the South East Zone) where there is a prevalence of 1.8%. There are higher rates of HIV in rural areas (4%) than in urban ones (3%).” 2
Ekiti state known for the highest intellectual achievement levels in the nation, has held the lowest rates in the country with an incidence of 0.2% followed by Zamfara state in the north which cut its incidence down to 0.4% to be the second lowest in the nation and lowest in the north.
Zamfara Brought Down Rates Over Recent Years
The Zamfara state Director of Public Health Services and Desk Officer, HIV control in the state Ministry of Health, Dr Habibu Yalwa discussed the low incidence of the virus in the state at a Free Medical Outreach programme in Nahuche community of Bungudu Local Government Area of the state, a programme designed to give HIV counseling and testing (HCT) and tests for malaria and high blood pressure to about 5,000 targeted residents in the state.
“Dr Yalwa said the state recorded 2.8% HIV prevalence in 2008 and 2.1% in 2011, and that the HIV incidence reduced drastically to 0.4 % in 2015, a feat which he said was achieved through a step-by-step compliance with the policies designed by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), as well as a creation of conducive atmosphere for development partners, and the provision of adequate facilities to the nine hospitals that take care of HIV cases in the state.” 2
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Overall the incidence of HIV in Nigeria has dropped over the past years due to better awareness programs and availability of anti-viral medications. Latest data from the World Health Organisation shows an incidence rate of 3.1% down from 5.4% at its peak in 2002.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) and HIV in Nigeria
“The number of men who have sex with men (sometimes referred to as MSM) who are living with HIV in Nigeria is increasing. This group now bears the heaviest HIV burden in the country whereas, before 2013, sex workers were the worst affected group. In 2007, 13.5% of men who have sex with men were living with HIV. In 2015, prevelance had risen to 23%. Men who have sex with men are thought to account for 10% of all new HIV infections in the country.” 1
HIV Prevalence Nigeria 2012 Statistics from NACA