No fewer than 105 persons tested positive for HIV in Ogun State during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, stated this at a press briefing to mark the 2020 World AIDS Day, with the theme, ‘United to end AIDS in the midst of COVID-19.’
Coker said statistics showed that 20,827 people were living with HIV in the state.
According to her, with the figure, the state has the highest prevalence of the virus in South-West states.
The commissioner, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Hospital Management Board, Dr Nafiu Aigoro, said the 20,827 patients had been placed on Anti-Retroviral Treatment to keep the HIV under control.
She explained that Ogun State had the prevalence rate of 1.6 per cent.
According to her, HIV prevalence rate in other states include, Lagos – 1.4 per cent; Ondo – 1.1 per cent; Oyo – 0.9 per cent and Osun – 0.9 per cent
While speaking on the drivers of the HIV epidemic in the state, the commissioner attributed it to poverty, low literacy level, stigma and discrimination, low political will, low use of condom and risky sexual behaviour.
She, however, 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 per cent.
“In 2001, it rose to 3.5 per cent and recorded a drop in 2003 to 1.5 per cent and a rise again to 3.6 per cent in 2005. In 2008, it dropped to 1.7 per cent in 2010, it was 3.1 per cent, in 2012 (NARHS) the prevalence was 2.9 per cent.”
The Executive Director of the State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr Kehinde Fatugase, while lamenting that no disease had lasted three decades like HIV, called for more global efforts towards combating the disease.