Findings of the latest national survey on HIV/AIDS has revealed a steep drop in the prevalence rate of the disease in Benue state.
The study tagged National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS) conducted in 2012 indicates that the state dropped from 12.7 percent to 5.6 percent.
Orduen Abunku, a medical doctor and Benue state commissioner for health and human services, disclosed this during a press conference in Makurdi, noted that the Benue state had suffered high burden of the disease for almost 20 years.
Abunku said based on the report, 280,000 people now live with the virus in the state as against 630,000 people who were living with the virus when the rate was 12.7 percent.
The commissioner attributed the reduction to the tireless efforts of the Benue state government in supporting treatment, prevention and care activities especially in the rural areas and the passage of the anti-stigma bill into law.
He also commended media development partners and other line parastatals and agencies for their various efforts which he said contributed to the success recorded and cautioned against over celebration of the success at the expense of further progress.
“However, despite all these achievements, there is no need for celebration. It is time we take off the gloves. It is time we hit HIV below the belt. We need to grid our loins for the race. The feat achieved so far can be celebrated if we see our state dropping further instead of climbing the HIV ladder again,” Abunku stressed.
With the current study, Benue has moved from the first position to the 9th position among the 36 states and FCT in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, according to the report, 3.4 percent of the population are living with the virus. This is 2.2 percent below the Benue state prevalence.
By: Barnes Agirigi