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FG Declares HIV/AIDS Endemic in Nigeria

Adebobola Bashorun, the National Coordinator of the National HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, and STI Control Programme at the Ministry of Health, announced on Tuesday that HIV and AIDS have reached an endemic stage in Nigeria.

This declaration is attributed to the successful containment of the disease’s spread and the reduction of stigmatization against individuals testing positive for HIV/AIDS. Bashorun emphasized that the availability of effective drugs for treatment has significantly contributed to diminishing the prevalent rate of the disease in the country.

During a press briefing in Abuja to introduce the three-day National Training of Trainers on WHO-approved Standard Q HIV 1& 2 Rapid Test Kit in Nigeria, Bashorun provided insights into the current state of HIV/AIDS in the nation.

“We have three classifications of a disease outcome or disease events. We have what we call endemic, like Malaria; it is living with us. We have an epidemic, which means it has gone beyond the expected rate for that period. Then pandemic, which is global,” explained Bashorun.

He elaborated on the evolution of HIV/AIDS, stating, “When HIV started, it was an epidemic in a few places. They just started seeing cases that they’ve never seen; later, it became a pandemic. It was everywhere in the world. At this stage that we are, it is endemic. This is because we’ve been able to control the spread, we’ve been able to control the stigma, how people see it as something dangerous because now we have treatments for cure. Treatment means you have a treatment that can maintain it.”

Bashorun urged Nigerians to undergo regular tests to be aware of their HIV/AIDS status, highlighting the availability of treatments to manage the disease. “There is treatment now. So, people should come out to know their HIV status at the same time,” he emphasized.

Regarding the training, Bashorun emphasized that it aims to ensure the proper usage of the product and monitor its performance and operational effectiveness in the field. He disclosed that following the Training of Trainers, over 900 additional testers would be trained across the 774 Local Government Areas through regional training in all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria, commencing on Thursday, November 23, 2023, in Abuja.

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