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Saturday, 19 May 2018

NEW HIV INFECTIONS AMONG PREGNANT WOMEN RAISE CONCERNS


Concerns and fears have arisen over the gradual spike in the number of women that have tested positive to Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Lagos State.
The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, recently disclosed that at least 2, 131 pregnant women have tested positive to HIV, while 3, 876 children were placed under antiretroviral therapy (ART) within the last one year.
Apart from fears that the deadly ailment could be experiencing a resurgence, stakeholders are worried about the downslide in funds for HIV programmes, as most donors have pulled out, and there is little or no provision in the national and state budgets to fight the scourge.
Consequently, not more than one-third of pregnant women and children living with the virus are receiving treatment.Lagos State Key Performance HIV Indicators for 2015 to 2017 made available to The Guardian by the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA), showed that more women are getting tested for HIV in the state, just as more are receiving ARV through the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme.
The HIV indicator for the state showed that the total number of pregnant women counseled, tested and given HIV test results in 2015 was 96, 306. The number fell to 82, 506 in 2016 and rose to 123, 118 in 2017.According to the report, despite the fact that more pregnant women were tested in 2017 for HIV (that is 123, 118), only 1, 252 tested positive compared to 1, 564 in 2015 when 96, 306 pregnant women were tested.
However, fewer women received PMTCT in 2017, that is 2, 167, compared to 2, 781 in 2015. But the 2017 figure was higher than the 1, 994 pregnant women receiving HIV treatment recorded in 2016.
Stakeholders are concerned that rising HIV infection figures are still being recorded, especially among pregnant mothers in a state like Lagos, with reasonable level of health awareness and budgetary allocation. They worry that if Lagos records such a surge, the situation in other states could be pathetic.


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