UNDERSTANDING HIV AND ITS PREVALENCE IN NIGERIA

UNDERSTANDING HIV AND ITS PREVALENCE IN NIGERIA

UNDERSTANDING HIV AND ITS PREVALENCE IN NIGERIA

It’s a new day and everyone is excited to be on this beautiful platform with lots of expectations and goals to achieve. However, ours is not far from it. Our aim of writing is to utilize our over 5 years’ experience to educate and create awareness to as many people that will come in contact with this write-ups on health related issues, especially sexual reproductive health ranging from HIV/AIDS, female genital mutilation, family planning etc.

Today, our focus will be on the basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS transmission and prevention.

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HIV; Human Immunodeficiency Virus

Human                        Affects and live only in humans

Immunodeficiency     Breaks down the human body defense system that fights off infections     

Virus                           Germ that attacks and weakens the body defense system

AIDS; Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Acquired                     Gotten from a source and not inherited

Immune-Deficiency   Breaks down the human body defense system that fights off infections

Syndrome                   Two or more other infections that occur at the same time over a period of time such as diarrhea, fever, cough and tiredness that last for more than a month.

HIV has become one of the world’s most serious health and development challenges. The first cases were reported in 1981.

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Government of Nigeria indicate a national HIV prevalence in Nigeria of 1.4% among adults aged 15–49 years. Previous estimates had indicated a national HIV prevalence of 2.8%. UNAIDS and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS estimate that there are 1.9 million people living with HIV in Nigeria.

The new data differentiate HIV prevalence by state, indicating an epidemic that is having a greater impact in certain areas of the country. The South-South zone of the country has the highest HIV prevalence, at 3.1% among adults aged 15–49 years. HIV prevalence is also high in the North Central zone (2.0%) and in the South East zone (1.9%). HIV prevalence is lower in the South West zone (1.1%), the North East zone (1.1%) and the North West zone (0.6%)

BASIC KNOWLEDGE OF HIV TRANSMISSION AND PREVENTION

It amazes me as a social/health worker that is always on the field to ask people how HIV is being transmitted and the responses I get is funny, yes I said its funny. Knowing the numbers of individuals and organizations… local and international… fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria by creating awareness through different means to educate it citizens on the basic knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention. Yet we still hear people saying HIV can be transmitted through unlikely ways, for example people are still saying the transmission of HIV is through mosquito bite, eating together with an infected person, sharing of cloths with an infected person etc.    

So, what could be the reason, as many people are not aware of the basic knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention.

  • Could it be the methods used to creating awareness are not suitable for all
  • Could it be that every target population needs to have its own methods of creating awareness
  • Could it be its lack of funding to reach more population
  • Could it be sustainability or behavior maintenance issue. All these and many more are questions that need answers.

However, some of the basic knowledge of HIV transmission are;

  • Unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV infected person
  • Transfusion of HIV infected blood and blood products
  • Infected mother to child transmission during pregnancy, labour and breast-feeding
  • Sharing of infected and unsterilized sharp objects – needles, blades, clippers etc.

HIV is not transmitted through

  • Hugging
  • Kissing
  • Sharing eating utensils with a person infected with HIV
  • Sharing office, room, bed and toilet with a person infected with HIV

HIV is prevented through

  • Abstinence
  • Correct and consistent use of condom
  • Be faithful to an uninfected partner
  • Avoid transfusion of unscreened blood or blood products
  • Avoid sharing of sharp unsterilized objects

Until next time, stay safe… protect yourself…

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