Over 20,827 persons are currently living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Ogun State.
The Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, disclosed this on Friday in Abeokuta while briefing the media in commemoration of this year’s World AIDS Day slated for Tuesday with the theme ‘United to end AIDS in the midst of COVID – 19.’
With this figure, she said the state topped the ladder of HIV prevalence among the Southwest States.
She also added curiously that 105 positive cases of the HIV were recorded in the state during the COVID -19 lockdown.
Dr Tomi Coker who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Hospital Management Board, Dr Nafiu Aigoro, explained that all the patients so far identified had been placed on Antiretroviral Treatment to keep the virus under check.
While she stated that Ogun had HIV prevalence rate of 1.6 per cent, Lagos had 1.4 per cent; Ondo – 1.1 per cent; Oyo – 0.9 per cent and Osun had 0.9 per cent.
Dr Tomi Coker attributed the major causative factors in the state poverty, low literacy level, low political will, low use of condom and risky sexual behaviour.
Others she enumerated include the state’s proximity to the international borders as well as the influx of people into the state from Lagos and other states for commercial purposes.
She said the first case of HIV and AIDS in the state was reported in 1990, while in 1999 when the first HIV/AIDS zero-prevalence sentinel survey was carried out the prevalence rate was 2.5 per cent.
In 2001, she added, it rose to 3.5 per cent and recorded a drop in 2003 to 1.5 per cent and a rise again to 3.6 percent in 2005.
However, In 2008, it dropped to 1.7 per cent in 2010, it was 3.1 per cent, and in 2012, the prevalence was 2.9 per cent.
She added that despite the COVID – 19 pandemic, 49,211 persons had been counselled, tested and given results out of which 105 were tested positive.
Dr Tomi Coker said the state would not allow fight against COVID – 19 to overshadow the effort to get rid of the HIV/AIDS, revealing that the facilities providing HIV Testing services in have been increased from 86 in 2014 to 431.
The Executive Director of the State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr Kehinde Fatugase said provisions were being made towards launching a self – testing kit for HIV.
This Fatugase believed would assist in fighting against the spread of the scourge, as he called for more global efforts towards combating it.