"Nigeria has moved from being the second country with the highest number of people living with AIDS which was ranked in 2014 with 3.1 million infected people but now fourth country with about 1.9 million people living with the scourge".
The Nigerian HIV/AIDs Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) indicates that about 1.9 million Nigerians are now living with the disease, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has said.
He said the survey also revealed that HIV prevalence was highest among females than males. The survey also showed that Northern Nigeria has a lower HIV/AIDS burden than south.
According to results from the survey conducted among adults between the age of 15 to 64 years across the six geo-graphical zone, the North Central zone follows closely with 2.1 per cent, while the South East zone is at 1.9 per cent.
Speaking in Abuja, Nigeria, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, welcomed the news that there are fewer people living with HIV in the country than previously estimated and launched the Revised National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework 2019-2021, which will guide the country's future response to the epidemic.
David Young who is the Charge de Affairs, Embassy of the United States of America, according to Premium Times, said "beyond the data, the survey has proved the capacity of Nigerians working together in solidarity with one another to rise and resolve challenges regarding the health and well-being of their brothers and sisters".
Also, it was reported that nearly half of people living with HIV in Nigeria achieved viral suppression.
"We truly appreciate the effort of organisations which have supported this survey and made it a reality, we look forward to more collaboration to ensure we achieve 2030 target of eradicating the epidemic". However, the new estimates released today indicate that more than half of people living with HIV still do not have suppressed viral loads.
She thanked development partners, whose support in the HIV response has been invaluable, and charged government at all levels to increase funding for HIV response using Nigeria's own domestic resources. "We know we can support HIV-positive mothers, hence ensuring the next generation is free from HIV", he said.
Modern anti-retroviral therapy has made it possible for HIV positive persons to live as long as their HIV negative counterparts.
Mr Michel Sidibe, the Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), commended NAIIS for a job well done, noting that the result of the survey will be a game changer for Nigeria. The survey reached around 220 000 people in about 100 000 households.