2,450 HIV-Positive People in One Nigerian State Register for No-Cost Treatment, Official Says
About 2,450 HIV-positive people in the Nigerian state of Niger have registered for no-cost treatment that its HIV/AIDS agency provides, Baba Umaru, director-general of the agency, said last week, Nigeria's Daily Trust reports. He added that at least 140 HIV-positive children are receiving HIV treatment. In addition, the agency has counseled 77,000 people in the state and identified 6,000 HIV cases, Umaru said.
According to Umaru, government officials in Niger recently launched an HIV awareness campaign because they were concerned about the low number of people seeking HIV treatment. Umaru said that Niger's State Assembly granted "full autonomy" to the HIV/AIDS agency to implement the campaign and promote HIV testing and treatment options. "More people are approaching the agency to know their status," Umaru said, adding that "it is a daily affair for us to receive requests" for HIV counseling or testing. He said he was confident that Niger's HIV/AIDS prevalence would decline as a result of the government's actions to address the disease, adding that additional assistance from international donor organizations would enable the agency to provide services to more HIV-positive people (Daily Trust, 1/10).