HIV infection increasing among homosexuals in Nigeria – Survey

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A new survey by the Integrated Biological and Behavioural Surveillance Survey, alongside the Federal Ministry of Health, has revealed that HIV/AIDS is prevalent among homosexuals.

The survey also captured sex workers, drug abusers, transport workers, men of the armed forces and the police.

The agency’s Director of Policy and Strategy, Alex Ogundipe, made this known at the AIDS Day rally in Abuja, saying the agency was working with the authorities to see HIV/AIDS as a problem of the people and not that of donor agencies.

According to Ehanire, the country can check the trend by poverty reduction and making information available to the people.

Referring to the survey, Ehanire said, “The result of the IBBSS shows that HIV/AIDS prevalence is highest among men who have sex with men at 22.9 per cent followed by 19.4 per cent among brothel-based female sex workers.

“Indeed, there has been a decline in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among the brothel and non-brothel workers, police and armed forces from 2007 to 2014 while, on the contrary, the prevalence has steadily risen from 13.5 in 2007 to 22.9 per cent in 2014 among men who have sex with men.”

While the statistics have shown that there is a decline of HIV/AIDS among sex workers, it also stated that about 3.4 million people in the country had the virus out of the 36.9 million persons living with the disease around the world.

He hailed the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to strengthening the sector towards achieving the global goals of eliminating HIV by 2030.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Health, Dr .Osagie Ehanire, at a briefing to commemorate this year’s Worlds AIDS Day entitled “Getting to zero: Ending HIV/AIDS by 2030” in Abuja, called for an end to poverty.

Ehanire said, “To achieve our goals, we must continue to tackle the root causes of vulnerability such as poverty, sexually transmitted infections and lack of information and education as well as stigma and discrimination.

“I am convinced that by working together, we can scale up HIV prevention, especially among adolescents and young people, eliminate vertical mother-to-child transmission of HIV and significantly expand access to care and treatment services in Nigeria.”

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