Edo debunks false claims on HIV prevalence, says only 0.6% of pregnant women living with virus

18 Apr 2023

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AIDS

The Edo State Government has described as false and misleading comments by a purported doctor that 30 out of 50 pregnant women in Edo State are persons living with the Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV).

The Edo State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akoria Obehi, in a statement, urged residents to disregard the false and deceptive claims, noting that only 0.6 percent of pregnant women were living with the virus in the state.

The statement reads: “The attention of the Edo State Ministry of Health has been drawn to a video on social media in which a purported "doctor" stated that 30 out of 50 pregnant women in Edo State are persons living with the Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus (HIV).

“This claim suggests that the prevalence of HIV in pregnant women in Edo State is an alarming 60%, which is completely untrue.

“According to the National AIDS Indicator Survey (NAIS), 2018 - the most recently updated survey on HIV in Nigeria, Edo State has an estimated 44,000 persons living with HIV: a prevalence rate of 1.8%.”

Prof. Akoria further noted, “So far, in 2023 in Edo State, 10,019 pregnant women have been tested for the HIV virus, out of which 59 tested positive, giving a positivity rate of 0.6%.

“The State Ministry of Health and its agencies actively work with partners to prevent and reduce transmission of HIV, provide treatment, and other required support for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIVS).

“There are personal, social, cultural, and societal factors that underlie poor disclosure of HIV status. Individual, couple, and family counselling are in place at every level in our healthcare system to provide the necessary support for PLHIVS.”

She charged, “We urge all residents in Edo State and other concerned persons to completely disregard unfounded claims made by persons of questionable credentials whose motives may not pass integrity tests.”

“The State Ministry of Health will address the professional and regulatory concerns that the video has raised. Please contact us using the following phone numbers if further clarification is required: 09016350001; 09114972470; 09116076093,” the Commissioner added.

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