Commercial sex workers account for 32 per cent of HIV prevalence in Nigeria, the Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, (NACA), Prof. John Idoko, has disclosed.
He said this at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja to flag off this year’s World AIDS Day commemorated worldwide every December 1.
According to Idoko, Nigeria is at present the second most burdened with the disease, with about 4.1 per cent of her population, about 6.5 million people living with the virus, after South Africa.
He also disclosed that the country had the highest burden of mother-to-child transmission in the world, a challenge the NACA boss promised the agency would address in the coming years.
While expressing hope over slight decline in HIV/AIDS’ burden from 4.6 percent to 4.1percent in Nigeria between 2008 and 2010, Idoko declared that the transmission of the disease through the sex workers; strengthening the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) campaigns and addressing the challenges of unprotected sex would receive the attention of NACA in the coming years.
He expressed the need for the country to source resources from within to tackle the incidence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria rather than relying on foreign donors.
Idoko lamented the dearth of ante-retroviral drugs for the treatment of those infected with the disease. According to him, about 500,000 people have access the drugs, a far cry from 1.5 million he claimed were in need of the drugs.