By Mustapha Sumaila
The Abuja Municipal Area Council(AMAC) has the highest figure of persons living with HIV in the metropolis, an official of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT’s) Agency For Control of HIV/AIDS (FACA) said.
Dr Uche Okoro said AMAC recorded 120,000 cases of HIV as at December 2016. It was followed by Bwari Area Council.
No fewer than three million residents underwent HIV/AIDS tests in 2016, with only three per cent positive cases, he said.
According to him, free testing and treatment as a method of combatting the disease has reduced the prevalence of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the territory.
He also said the method has proven cost effective.
He explained that Nigeria embraced the approach in 2015 following the United Nations resolution at the 2014 high level General Assembly meeting on ending AIDS.
Okoro said FACA started the pilot programme of the test-and-treat method in Abuja Municipal and Bwari councils in 2015, and that it has been expanded to the remaining four councils in 2017.
The official stated that the test-and-treat method has also served as preventive measure which is better and cheaper.
“There are cases we have here where one of the couple was infected with the virus and the other one was not. The infected one was taking the treatment and also still having sexual intercourse with his partner and did not infect her.
“And if such couple had a baby; the child was also not infected because within six months of treatment, the viral load has dropped therefore such affected person cannot transmit it to others,” he said.
He maintained that treatment of a positive person is for life in spite of the fact the preventive measure adopted by government is aimed at reducing the HIV prevalence.
He said that FACA would continue to work with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and other development partners in Nigeria to eradicate the disease.