By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
A study conducted recently has revealed that HIV prevalence rate has dropped in Akwa Ibom state by 2.8 percent.
The study released by the state AIDS Indicator Survey (AKAIS), said the recent drop is against the previously circulated figure of 10.8 percent from a sentinel study.
The study, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was a collaborative effort between the State Government and USAID flagship HIV/AIDS and TB project – Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS), which is implemented by FHI 360.
In a report of the study, a population based cross-sectional survey was carried out across the 31 Local Government Areas in the state, in a field work of the study, which took place between April and June 2017.
A total of 4,313 households were sampled while 7,791 children and 9,145 adults totaling 16,936 people, were tested for HIV.
The study found that the HIV prevalence among children 0 to 14 years was 0.4 percent while the prevalence among persons 15 years and older was 4.8 percent.
The study further revealed a 0.41 percent annual incidence of HIV among adults ages 15 years and older. The number of new infections was said to be closely similar in females as in males (0.41% among females and 0.42% among males).
However, the HIV incidence in ages 15- 19 years was higher than the rest of the age groups; translating to nearly half of the new HIV infections occurring in the adult population.
Speaking during the unveiling of the findings of AKAIS during a dissemination meeting of HIV/AIDS stakeholders, in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, the state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, reiterated that the survey presents an opportunity for the state to more accurately estimate the current HIV/AIDS prevalence and incidence and better guide the HIV/AIDS response.