Abuja - About 1.8 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS-related deaths in Nigeria since the first case was reported in the country in 1986, the Kwara Ministry of Health Coordinator for HIV/Aids, Hajia Salimot Lawal, has said.
Lawal says Nigeria has an estimated 4.4 per cent HIV prevalence rate and 3.9 million people are living with the virus.
She said infections has continued to soar despite stakeholders concerted efforts aimed at halting and reversing the spread of the disease.
She said Nigeria remains among five top countries in the world in terms of HIV/Aids infections.
She called on workers to test for the disease, adding there was a need to ratchet up the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTC) through adequate testing and counselling.
She said that Mother-To-Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV accounted for three to 10 per cent of infections in Nigeria.
According to Lawal, the introduction of the core interventions in developed countries had reduced infection rates to two per cent.
She added the entry point for PMTCT services is through HIV testing of pregnant women attending antenatal care. Testing and counselling should be offered to all pregnant women seeking these services.
She listed the benefits of testing and counselling as reinforcement of safer sex practices and empowering HIV-negative pregnant woman to remain negative.
Lawal also highlighted part of the challenges facing testing and counselling to include additional workload and stress for healthcare providers carrying out the services.
- CAJ NEWS