The Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Gambo Aliyu has highlighted ways the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) can be stopped in Nigeria.
Aliyu, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, said the first step is to eliminate the mother-to-child transmission, noting that a generation free of HIV can be achieved once this is done.
According to him, the more people living with HIV/AIDS are identified, the more the spread of the virus is being curbed.
“If you want to stop HIV, two things are very critical. Stop mother-to-child transmission. If you eliminate it, you will have a generation free of HIV,” he said.
“If you are giving birth to a generation with HIV, then you are going to stay with HIV for a long time to come because these individuals are just beginning a fresh life and they are likely to stay 50, 60, 70 years alive with HIV in their bodies if we are not successful in getting a cure before then.”
The NACA boss also identified commercial sex workers, transgender and drug users to be at high risk of contracting the virus.
As part of measures in tackling the further spread of the virus, Aliyu said his agency is creating awareness by ensuring that unborn children are protected from the virus.
While noting that the right of unborn children is guaranteed by the parents, the NACA boss charged couples against running away from their responsibility of conducting HIV tests once a pregnancy is detected.
He added, “If it is HIV-Positive, that baby should be protected from having HIV. We can do it, we can prevent that baby from having HIV at the time of delivery, after delivery till the child is 18 months.
“We have some kind of disconnection in the sense that our access to pregnant mothers is limited to those that show up at the facility for an antenatal visit. It may surprise you that half of the pregnant women don’t come for an antenatal visit.