By Ochiaka Ugw
The Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health has formally presented findings of the Akwa Ibom AIDS Indicator Survey (AKAIS) sponsored by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This was contained in a statement released by the Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy in Abuja.
The statement noted that the survey was carried across 31 local government areas of the state between April and June of this year and is a population-based, cross-sectional survey.
“It is one of the first states in Nigeria to conduct the survey and the first to release its findings. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded the survey, as a collaborative effort between the State Government and USAID implementing partner FHI 360.
The survey is a vital tool for the State Government because it provides the first accurate assessment of prevalence and incidence rates of HIV in Akwa Ibom.
“Over the course of the survey, approximately 15,000 children and adults were tested. The study found that the HIV prevalence among children 0 to 14 years was 0.4 percent while the prevalence among persons 15 years or older was 4.8 percent. “The overall prevalence rate of HIV in Akwa Ibom State was found to be 2.8 percent. The study further revealed a 0.41 percent annual incidence (new infections) of HIV in people ages 15 years and older. The rate of new infections was similar in females and males (0.41 percent among females and 0.42 percent among males).
“However, the HIV incidence in 15 – 19 year olds was higher than the other age groups; translating to nearly half of the new HIV infections occurring in the adult population”.
In his remarks, the Secretary to the State Government of Akwa Ibom,
Sir Etekamba Umoren stated that the survey will help Akwa Ibom more accurately estimate the current HIV/AIDS prevalence and incidence, and better guide the HIV/AIDS response. Akwa Ibom is one of the 12+1 HIV high burden states prioritized by the Government of Nigeria. It is also one of the eight states prioritized by United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) for accelerated HIV response.