72,000 adolescents living with HIV in Lagos – LSACA
No fewer than 72,000 adolescents are currently living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV, in Lagos State.
The Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, LSACA, made this disclosure on Wednesday.
According to LSACA, out of the top 10 states with highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in Nigeria, Rivers is the highest with 15.2 percent. The lowest among the 10 is Ondo with 4.3 percent.
Speaking during a stakeholders’ Forum on Adolescents Living with HIV in Lagos to mark this year’s World AIDS Day with the theme: “Hands Up for HIV Prevention”, the Chief Executive Officer, LSACA, Dr Oluseyi Temowo called on stakeholders to come together and fight the epidemic with a view to saving the country’s future leaders.
According to him; ‘’HIV occurs in all ages, hence the need to urgently tackle the transmission in adolescent.
“Achieving AIDS free generation requires collective efforts, this is why we are calling on government at all levels, individuals and organisations to join us in this quest to make Lagos State HIV Free.’’
Temowo, who stressed on the need for all hands to be on deck towards eradicating the HIV pandemic, said the State government was committed to ensuring that 90 percent of those affected were on treatment and had low viral load by 2030.
On her part, wife of the Lagos State Government, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode stressed that prevention efforts must be doubled, if the world was to stay on fast -track to ending the pandemic.
Speaking, the Programme Manager, Positive Action for Treatment Access, PATA , Mr. Francis Umoh, said the 2014 UNICEF report showed that estimated 196,000 Nigerian adolescents were living with HIVn while 11,000 died of AIDS related cases in 2013, out of estimated adolescent population of 38,882,000.
“This is also observed in orphanages/homes as they do not admit adolescents living with HIV,” he said.
Also speaking, the Representative of United Nations AIDS Control Agency, UNAIDS, Dr. Asa said HIV should be everyone’s business because everyone’s life was at stake.
“It is no longer a death sentence but a life sentence because many of these children got infected through their parents. It is possible to break the transmission and once that is done everyone will be safe. Countries like Cuba have done it and it is time to ensure that all children starts their lives free from HIV so that everyone stays AIDS free,” she said.
Few weeks ago, Temowo had revealed that of the 616,318 that attended the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) awareness programme from January to June, 2016, no fewer than 9,579 people tested positive to HIV.