Nigerian authorities on Tuesday said 87 people have been confirmed killed this year by HIV/AIDS in Niger, a state known to have the lowest prevalence rate in the country’s north-central region.
Permanent secretary of health and hospital services in Niger Muhammad Sidi, while confirming the figure to reporters in the state capital of Minna, said 3,000 patients living with the AIDS pandemic are currently receiving treatment across the state.
The official noted a state-wide assessment of prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS this year had also confirmed that 51,712 pregnant women received HIV/AIDS counseling and testing in 25 facilities in the state.
Out of that figure, 731 patients who tested positive are already receiving antiretroviral medications, he said.
Low levels of access to antiretroviral treatment remains an issue for people living with HIV in the most populous African country.
Director general of the (Niger) State Agency for the Control of AIDS Adamu Baba said stigma and discrimination also pose as an enormous barrier to effective fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic in that part of the west African country.
“This is why persons living with the HIV/AIDS find it difficult to disclose their status to anybody for fear of rejection from relations and community,” Baba added. Enditem