At least 500 Nigerians die of HIV/AIDs daily, with an average new infection of 600 people every day, says Sani Aliyu, Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDs, NACA.
Mr. Aliyu gave the figure during an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, about HIV/AIDs, aired on Saturday night.
He said although the country has achieved great heights with the support of government and the international community, a lot of help is still needed from private individuals to address the challenges posed by the existence of HIV/AIDs in Nigeria.
Mr. Aliyu noted that Nigeria is still the second most affected country with HIV/AIDs, globally behind South Africa. He called on government and stakeholders to ensure increased education of the girl child and women empowerment as a means of addressing the challenge.
He added that the global theme for this year’s event to mark the World AIDs day, “Hands up for HIV/AIDs prevention,” was adjusted for Nigeria, to match with the country’s current prevalence rate of 3 per cent.
“You know that for Nigeria the topic for this year is not ‘hands up’; when you say hands up you are giving up. It’s ‘hands on’ for us in Nigeria,” said Mr. Aliyu.
About 72,000 adolescents are reportedly living with HIV in Lagos State, officials have said.
Also according to the Borno State’s coordinator for HIV/AIDs, no fewer than 5,000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in 27 camps in the state are currently living with the virus.