Nigeria ranks third among most infected countries with the Human Immuno deficiency Virus (HIV), coming after South Africa and India in that order.
This was disclosed yesterday in Abuja, by Ekeoma Uwaoma, Relationship Manager, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), at a one-day capacity workshop organised by the Federal Ministry of Energy in collaboration with NACA.
Uwaoma, in a paper titled, Basic Facts on HIV/AIDS, alerted the nation that there were increasing cases of Nigerian ladies who, in their desperate desire to get back at the society, especially because of the stigmatisation which is still very prevalent, dress up provocatively and seek for lift from men, only to end up raping them and gleefully taunt their victims: “Welcome to the club, you are now HIV-positive.”
She also said the population of Nigerians living with the disease is more than the entire population of Liberia. Giving a hint of the near-crisis situation of the pandemic in the country, she narrated an incident in which a patient with the disease who was referred for admission could not be taken by two hospitals in the Federal Capital Territory, Wuse and Asokoro general hospitals, on account of shortage of beds.
She said the patient eventually ended up at the National Hospital.
Noting that the prevalence of HIV in Nigeria wasadversely affecting the attainment of the MillenniumDevelopment Goals, Uwaoma called on the government toissue a circular to make budgetary provisions for theEnergy and parastatals under it to take care of HIV-ralated issues, lamenting that enoughattention had not been given to the handling of thedisease. She cited lack of transparency on the part ofgovernment officials as a major stumbling block.In his address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry ofEnergy (Power), Engr. Sadiq Mahmood, who wasrepresented by Engr. Mohammed Amate, Director ofPlanning, Research and Statistics, announced that theministry would soon set up HIV centres in the variousdepartments and urged the participants to spread theknowledge they would acquire from the workshop totheir colleagues.