698 pregnant women living with HIV in Niger – Commissioner

By Tina George, Minna

The Niger state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Makunsidi Muhammad has disclosed that 698 pregnant women were in 2019, diagnosed with HIV positive in the state. 

Speaking to newsmen as part of activities to mark the World AIDS Day, the Commissioner said that the 698 women were among 67,137 pregnant women who received HIV/AIDS counseling and testing during a joint assessment of prevention of Mother to Child transmission of HIV/AIDS services carried out. 

The Commissioner also disclosed that out of 137,253 individuals who received HIV testing services within the year, 1,005 were found to be HIV positive. 

He stated that the prevalence of HIV in Niger state had reduced and currently stands at 0.7 percent, which is recorded as the lowest in the North Central zone. 

The Commissioner stated that the viral suppression rate in Niger state stands at 79 percent, attributing it to robust counseling interventions in the various facilities across the state. 

He said that the state government has established 12 early infancy diagnosis collection centers, which have made it easy for the timely transportation and logging of dried blood spot samples for infant PCR testing in Abuja. 

Muhammad lamented that the drivers of HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state remained early sexual debut, continuity of female sex workers, psychoactive substance abuse, low HIV testing services uptake, low condom use, transfusion of unscrewed blood and poor management of sexually transmitted infections. 

The Commissioner urged the people to be aware of the challenges the disease poses to mankind.