The Ogun State Government yesterday disclosed that at least 105 persons tested positive for HIV in the state during the COVID-19 lockdown. The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tomi Coker, who disclosed this to journalists in Abeokuta, said the state tops the ladder of HIV prevalence in Southwest states with more than 20,827 people living with the virus in the state.
The commissioner, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Hospital Management Board, Dr. Nafiu igoro, said the patients had been placed on Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) to keep the HIV under control. According to her, Ogun has prevalence rate of 1.6 per cent, placing the state on the ladder in Southwest. She said HIV prevalence rate in other states include; Lagos – 1.4per cent; Ondo – 1.1per cent; Oyo – 0.9 per cent and Osun with 0.9 per cent.
The commissioner attributed drivers of the HIV epidemic in the state to poverty, low literacy level, stigma and discrimination, low political will, low use of condom and risky sexual behaviour. She also blamed the prevalence on 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.
Coker said: “The first case of HIV and AIDS in Ogun State was reported in 1990. In 1999, when the first HIV/ AIDS zero-prevalence sentinel survey was carried out the prevalence rate was 2.5%. “In 2001, it rose to 3.5 per cent and recorded a drop in 2003 to 1.5% and a rise again to 3.6 per cent in 2005. In 2008, it dropped to 1.7 per cent, in 2010, it was 3.1 per cent, in 2012 (NARHS) the prevalence was 2.9 per cent. “Ogun State presently has a prevalence rate of 1.6 per cent (NAIIS 2018). This is noted to be above the national prevalence (1.4per cent) and is also the highest in the Southwest.” She added that despite the COVID – 19 pandemic, “49, 211 persons have been counselled, tested and given results out of which 105 tested positive.”