Cross River ranks 5th in HIV prevalence in Nigeria —Dr Rose Nyambi

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L-R: Dr Linda Ayade, Dr Inyang Asibong 
Nyok|2 December 2018
CALABAR —Cross River State has been reported to rank 5th out of 36 states in Nigeria in respect of HIV prevalence NEGROIDHAVEN can report authoritatively. The state, according to a 2014 Sentinel survey by the Federal Ministry of Health, has 6.6% prevalence rate, with 7.7% and 4.2% for urban and rural areas respectively. This information was disclosed Saturday in the state capital by Dr Rose Nyambi the Director General of Cross River State Agency for the Control of AIDS during the event to commemorate the 2018 edition of the World AIDS Day.
Dr Nyambi who observed that in Calabar South and Calabar Municipality the prevalence rate decreased by 1.4% informed that in Ikom it decreased by 6.3%, but, increased in Akamkpa by 2.1% from 2.6% in 2010 to 4.7 in 2014. In Gakem in Ogoja LGA the increase was pegged at 3.4%. There is a general reduction of 5% according to her. Even at that there is still more work to be done as the rate in the state is higher than the zonal and national average.
Her words, ‘Cross River State has a HIV prevalence of (7.7% for urban and 4.2% for rural) 6.6%and ranked 5th position in Nigeria. HIV prevalence is higher in the urban than in the rural setting. For instance, in both Calabar South and Calabar Municipality, the prevalence decreased (1.4%) from 10.4% to 9%; Ikom 6.3%; Akamkpa increased (2.1% from 2.6% in 2010 to 4.7% in 2014; an increase of 2.1% and Gakem in Ogoja LGA increased (3.4%) from 0.6% in 2010 to 4% in 2014.
‘Although, the HIV prevalence reduce by 5%, there is still work to be done. The State HIV prevalence is still higher than the national and zonal average. The recently concluded National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) will provide up to data on the current burden of HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state.’
Speaking shortly after a long walk Dr. Mrs. Linda Ayade, the wife of Governor and the President and founder Mediatrix Development Foundation, MDF an NGO that champions the creation of awareness and care for HIV/AIDS in the state urged citizens to know their status.

‘Knowing your status is important. Since the inception of the monstrous disease, we cannot count the untimely deaths that it has brought to our society. We want to let you know that at MDF, we are doing everything to ensure that we succeed. And if any Cross Riverian should die of HIV/AIDS today, you killed yourself, for the drugs are now available and totally free.” Adding that “HIV/AIDS has had a devastating effect on families, cutting lives short and so we would continue to fight HIV/AIDS to ensure it is completely eradicated” while promising to work more with development partners to achieve our goals in this fight.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Inyang Asibong on her part said the state is working round the clock to ensure everyone knows their HIV/AIDS status. She gave a rundown of some LGAs doing well to reduce the prevalence rate of the disease.
Speaking earlier, the Director General noted that stigmatisation and discrimination still constitute a challenge to HIV testing. She further observed that testing for the medical condition usually comes breakdown in health and presence of symptomatic conditions: ‘unfortunately, barriers such as stigma and discrimination still prevent people from taking an HIV test. And assess to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern. Many people still only get tested after becoming ill and symptomatic’, she said.
Continuing Nyambi said that, ‘the State Government in partnership with Development/Implementing Partners, civil society organizations and other stakeholders has made progress towards achieving the USAIDS 90-90-90 targets by ensuring that HIV prevention and treatment services are available and close to those who really need them in communities across the state. These include among others scaling up treatment, prevention, care and support services, development and costing of the Cross River State HIV Strategic Plan (2017-2021) as well as providing an enabling environment for implementing partners to work in the state’.
While flagging off the celebration in the state the wife to the Governor of the State, Dr Mrs Linda Ayade encouraged Nigerians resident in the state to know their status. The Commissioner for Health, Dr Inyang Asibong informed the audience that 90% of Nigerians in Calabar already know their status.
The following six local government areas in Cross River were said to have the highest rate of HIV prevalence. They include: Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Ikom, Yala, Yakurr, and Akamkpa.
The theme for this year, which is the 30th anniversary celebration of the World AIDS Day is ‘Know Your Status’. The main objective of this theme is to achieve zero infection, zero AIDS-related death and zero discrimination.
Present at the event were dignitaries such as Her Excellency Dr Mrs Linda Ayade the wife to the Executive Governor of Cross River, Dr Inyang Asibong the Honourable Commissioner for Health, Cross River State, Mr Godwin Iyala the Special Adviser to the Governor on Insurance, Chief of Staff to the Governor Ben Mr Martin Orim, Commissioner for Works Engr Dane Osim, Mr Godwin Nyiam SA DOPT, development partners, civil society organisations, etc.
Efio-Ita Nyok
Is the Blogger-in-Chief, Editor-in-Chief & Publisher of NEGROIDHAVEN