The Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Sani Aliyu has said the agency would conduct the largest national AIDS survey in june.
Announcing this at a news conference on “Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey’’ on Thursday in Abuja, the DG said the survey would be in collaboration with the United States Government, Global Funds, UNAIDS, Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organisation (WHO), among others.
Aliyu noted that the survey which would last for six months, would be conducted across the 36 states and the FCT.
According to him,the survey will determine the true distribution of HIV and Hepatitis B and C in the country.
“Members of households will be requested to take part in the survey to serve as a representation of the entire population in the selected communities. The survey will also offer household-based counseling and testing, as well as Hepatitis B and C testing.
“Those who test positive for any of the tests will be referred to suitable health facilities to receive appropriate services,” he said.
He added that only individuals who voluntarily agreed to participate would be interviewed, with their blood sample tested under confidential environment.
Aliyu added that results from the survey would provide key information that would guide the government in planning and developing effective programmes to control HIV and Hepatitis in the country.
Speaking at the conference, Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole noted that the survey would provide precise data on the prevalence of HIV in the country.
Represented by his Senior Special Assistant, Mr Araoye Segilola, the Minister added that the results would aid the ministry to know the current rate of new infections.
He said that the exercise would help in the distribution of adequate HIV/AIDS kits and antiretroviral drugs, while appreciating the United States Government, Global Funds, UNAIDS, WHO, CDC, and other partners for supporting the implementation of the largest HIV survey in the world.
Also speaking, the Country Director of Centtre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mr Mahesh Swaminathan noted that a sample size of 170,000 Nigerians would be selected for the survey, adding that the samples for the survey would be selected randomly and those tested positive would be placed on life-saving treatment.
Swaminathan said that the results from the survey would help the U.S government and other partners to provide adequate resources to end the epidemic before 2030.
“The reason we have not been able to save more lives is because we do not have the accurate data of people living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. So far, the U.S has spent approximately 4.7 billion dollars for the control of AIDS in Nigeria and with that investment over 800,000 people are on treatment.
“We believe we can do more and that is why the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in collaboration with Global Fund, CDC and the University of Marylan, will be working together with the government of Nigeria to put an end the HIV and AIDS,” he said.(NAN)