Lagos Records 9,579 HIV Cases in Six Months

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Gboyega Akinsanmi

The Lagos State Government wednesday disclosed that it recorded about 9,579 cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) between January and June alone.

The state government added that 616, 318 persons were counselled, tested and received results, out of which it said 9,579 individuals were found positive to the viruses in different parts of the state.

The Chief Executive Officer of the State Aids Control Agency (LSACA), Dr. Oluseyi Temowo disclosed this at a news conference he addressed yesterday to mark the 2016 World AIDS Day at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre, Alausa.
Temowo addressed the conference alongside the State AIDS Programme Coordinator, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olurotimi Agbolagorite and Assistant Director, Admin & Human Resource, LSACA, Mr. Femi Agbesanwa among others.

At the conference, Temowo disclosed that of the 616,318 individuals counselled and tested across the state, 9,576 were found “to be positive. In 2015, 2015, a total number of 599,560 people were counselled, tested and received results out of which 15,311 were found to be positive.

“However, 52,803 positive individuals are currently on Antiretroviral (ARVs). An HIV positive person can be symptom free for 10 years and will continue to infect others if not checked and treated. Being an HIV positive person does not translate to death with appropriate medication,” he explained.

Temowo gave comparative analysis of HIV/AIDS recorded in the state in the last 25 years, noting that in 1991/1992, the state recorded HIV prevalence rate of 1.9 per cent.

He said the rate “increased over the years to 6.5 per cent in 1999.
The survey conducted in 2001 recorded a prevalence rate of 3.5 per cent. In 2003, it was 4.7 per cent and in 2005, it was 3.3 per cent.”

He said the recent National HIV Sentinel Survey conducted in 2014 put the state prevalence rate at four per cent, thereby indicating that the state “has shown an unstable HIV prevalence trend. It is an overall increase in HIV prevalence among the age group between 19 and 49.
He noted that an HIV positive person “can be symptoms free for 10 years and will continue to infect others if not checked and treated; adding that being an HIV positive person does not translate to death with appropriate medication.

On the day, Temowo said the event “is celebrated globally to remember those that had died of the scourge, those living with it and to take stock of various interventions and chart ways of ending it.
“The 2016 theme, Hands up for HIV Prevention, is apt based on the UNAIDS prevention gap report that an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV every year worldwide, for at least the past five years and that the number of new HIV infections is rising in some region.”

Temowo said HIV prevention efforts must be reinvigorated if the world is to stay on the fast-track to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as agreed globally at UNAIDS meeting in New York in June this year.