HIV/AIDS: A’Ibom People Are Very Religious, Hold Firmly To Tenets Of Chastity, Fidelity – Commissioner

 

By: Our Correspondent

UYO, South-South, Nigeria – The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, has dismissed insinuations that promiscuity could be responsible for the high HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in the state, saying the people are very religious and hold firmly to the tenets of chastity and fidelity.

He stated this at the Post-National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, (NAIIS) discussion and stakeholders’ engagement meeting in Uyo.

The Commissioner expressed worry that the high prevalence rate was being interpreted by many as a sign of promiscuity among the people of the state, pointing out that the virus could be transmitted through other channels besides sex.

He, however, noted that HIV/AIDS education was low and that the people were engaging in behaviour which exposed them to the virus, with particular reference to the activities of the Traditional Birth Attendants.

Dr. Ukpong appealed to citizens of the state to get tested and to disclose their status to their partners.

Speaking earlier, the Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr. Sanmi Adedokun, NAIIS, said that the prevalence rate was higher along the coastal boarders which had a lot of immigration activities.

He said that the Akwa Ibom people, though having the highest rate in the last survey, had recorded a commendable drop in HIV/AIDS prevalence from 10.8 in 2014 to 5.5 in 2017; adding that there should be a conscious inclusion of schools in HIV/AIDS sensitization and education.

Dr. Adedokun explained that the survey also revealed that 79.3 per cent of adolescence had HIV/AIDS information from their teachers.

Similarly, Dr Chris Obanubi gave the assurance that the prevalence rate in the state could be crashed; saying that the USAID was set to do more sensitization to attend this goal, and called for community involvement and media inclusion to change the negative attitude of people toward fight against the virus.

It would be recalled that recently, NAIIS had revealed that Akwa Ibom state had the highest prevalence rate of HIV in the country.

According to the survey, 5.5 per cent of people living with HIV in Nigeria are in the state, followed by Benue which has about 3.5 per cent prevalence rate.

 

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