Recently, the National AIDS Indicator Impact Survey (NAIIS) has revealed that Akwa Ibom State has witnessed a significant drop in the prevalence of HIV from 10.8% (ANC Survey 2013) to 5.5% (NAIIS 2018). Records show 5.5% of people aged 15-64 years estimated to be infected with the virus. This puts the number of persons living with HIV in Akwa Ibom State at 178,051 out of which 52,780 persons are currently on sustained antiretroviral treatment. A significant number of persons in the State are yet to know their HIV status and 125,271 persons infected with HIV will need to be diagnosed and placed on lifelong therapy.
Recall that Akwa Ibom State has hitherto before now rated as Nigeria’s most recorded state with people living with HIV/AIDS.
In support of epidemic control effort in Akwa Ibom State, The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through USAID had partnered with Akwa Ibom State Government through her Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies to implement HIV prevention and control strategies in the past years across the entire State.
Following the release of the recent NAIIS report, an effective Surge management structure has been put in place to drive epidemic control under the leadership of the State Ministry of Health and in partnership with USAID and ably supported by Anti-AIDS fighters partners.
This partnership has received support from the Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of AIDS (AKSACA) and relevant Civil Society Organization (CSO) networks including the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) and Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CISHAN).
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria – Stuart W. Symington visit to His Excellency the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Emmanuel Udom and his team is to further consolidate the US government support to Nigeria on health and social development. The Ambassador who on a working visit to Akwa Ibom recently was received by FHI360, the USAID Lead implementing partner in the State as well as the Akwa Ibom Network of People living with HIV & AIDS (AKNET).
Ambassador Stuart W. Symington in his speech appreciated the support of the State Government in addressing the epidemic of HIV/AIDS, he emphasized that he is in the state to launch USG most important effort – to save lives that would have otherwise been lost. His focus is to ensure all those living with HIV know their status and those who are positive are commenced and retained on treatment. He also stated that if the team of USG and Akwa Ibom State government achieves this, it will further showcase the state government commitment to prioritizing the health and well-being of his people.
In his remark the Executive Governor, Mr Emmanuel Udom gave his commitment to work with implementing partners to achieve epidemic control in the state within the stipulated period. The US Ambassador promised more of the USG support in the state as the Governor, Deac Emmanuel requested for continued transparency and efficiency in the utilization of USG funds in the State.