Dr Ruth Bello, the Executive Director, Nasarawa State AIDS Control Agency (SACA) has said that the prevalence rate of HIV in Nasarawa is two per cent.
Bello said this during a tour of Lafia by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in Lafia on Thursday.
She scored the state’s HIV response high in the area of prevention and treatment, saying “we have about 80,000 persons now identified with HIV and currently under treatment in the state.
“We also have a law against discrimination and stigma in the state, which has gone a long way in encouraging marriages between HIV negative persons and positive persons without infecting each other.”
The SACA executive director, who also said that the state has zero tolerance for discrimination and stigma, added that there is an ongoing partnership with religious and traditional leaders to further mitigate discrimination and stigma.
Dr Esther Audu, the Coordinator, Antiretroviral Therapy (ART), identified counselling as key to treatment of HIV.
Audu explained that only counselling could determine the level of retention of persons for treatment.
According to her, the news of being HIV positive most times is devastating and many people may not accept to be placed on treatment.
The coordinator added that there are more than 5000 persons under treatment.
Mrs Ruth Yakubu, the Secretary, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Nasarawa chapter, affirmed that HIV is not a death sentence.
Yakubu, who acknowledged her 18 years HIV status, said she has a HIV negative husband and children.
She traced the success story of HIV response among her colleagues to NACA’s Undetectable Equals Untransmittable (U=U) which triggered viral suppression.
Mrs Toyin Aderibigbe, the Deputy Director, Public Relations and Protocol, NACA, said that the essence of the tour was to have first-hand assessment and interactions with personalities around HIV.
Also called Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV damages the immune system and interferes with the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases.HIV can be spread through contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, but medications can control the infection and prevent disease progression.