The National Coordinator, Sexually Transmitted Infections and AIDS Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Sunday Aboje, has said that the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate has gone down from five to three per cent in the country.
Attributing this development to the public awareness and enlightenment programmes on the scourge by the Federal Government, he noted that the efforts were yielding fruits.
The coordinator said this at a workshop on HIV/AIDS rapid testing kits for Federal and State HIV/AIDS officials organised by a test kit manufacturer, Trinity Biotech Limited in Abuja.
Aboje said the ministry recently conducted an evaluation of the rapid test kits being used in the country, adding that 10 out of 11 kits passed the tests.
He explained that the defective test kit was giving wrong results, adding that it gave negative results for those who were HIV positive.
He explained that the evaluation was done to determine the specificity and sensitivity of the test kits, which, he said, was the foundation in HIV/AIDS prevention and control.
Aboje said, “We have made a lot of progress. Two years ago, the prevalence was above five per cent, but now, it is three per cent. What we are trying to do is to ensure that people become aware, especially in the area of prevention.
“If you know that you are HIV positive, then try not to pass it to your partner or if you are a pregnant woman and you are HIV positive, there are treatments to take that would prevent your unborn child from contracting the virus.
“We have many rapid test kits in use in the country and recently we did an evaluation of about 11 of them out of which 10 passed our criteria and one of the successful manufacturers said he wanted to have an interface with the end users to entertain questions from them.
“Rapid test is the entry point for HIV/AIDS control. If you don’t have diagnosis, there will be no basis for treatment. We are here today to hear what they have to say about their products.”