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By Luka Binniyat & Mayen Etim
KADUNA—Nigeria accounts for nine percent of total global HIV/AIDS infection. Altogether, 35 million people live with the virus in the world.
This was made known by the Executive Secretary of Kaduna State AIDS/HIV Control Agency, KADSACA, Dr. Halibut Abubakar at the commemoration of the 2014 World AIDS Day in Kaduna yesterday.
Abubakar said, “The number of people who are newly infected with HIV is continuing to decline in most parts of the world.
“There were 2.1 million infections in 2013, a decline of 38% from 2001 when there were 3.4 million new infections. Progress in stopping new HIV infections among children, has been dramatic.
“In 2013, about 240,000 children were infected globally. This is 58 percent lower than in 2002, the year with the highest number, when 580,000 children were infected.
‘’Providing access to anti- retroviral, ARV, drugs for pregnant women living with HIV has averted more than 900,000 new HIV infections among children since 2009.
“Fewer people are dying of AIDS related illnesses. In the sub-Saharan Africa, the number of AIDS related deaths fell by 39 percent between 2005 and 2013.
“If the above facts and reasons give hope, on the flip side, there are equally sobering facts and challenges that if addressed urgently, can decisively turn the tide against HIV/AIDS.”
“Globally, 15 countries account for 75% of all people living with HIV. Nigeria accounts for nine percent of the global figure.
“At the end if 2013, there were 35 million living with HIV. This number is rising as more people are living longer because of the ARV therapy, alongside the number of new infections, which, although, declining, is still very high”, he said.
He said that Kaduna state government was concerned about the 9.2% infection rate in the state and, as such, has approved the disbursement of N250 million to create awareness in all the 23 Local Government Areas of the state through testing and counselling.