Vanguard (Lagos)

Nigeria: '79 Babies Born By HIV Positive Couples Are Negative'

Seventy Nine babies out of the 160 born by HIV/AIDS positive couples whose marriages were contracted under the auspices of Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (BACATMA) were HIV negative.

The agency chairman, Dr. Mohammed Liman, said the HIV negatives babies are healthy but not without support from BACATMA, even as he said 11,232 HIV positive individuals in the state were receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART).

Liman also disclosed that the HIV prevalence in Bauchi is 2.0% as against 6.8% in 2001 when the prevalence rate hit an unacceptable level.The BACATMA boss, who disclosed this during a press briefing in Bauchi, stated that the HIV/AIDS control program of the agency coordinates a broad spectrum multi-sectorial response in collaboration with other ministries and the Office of the First Lady of the state.

He explained that strategic interventions of the agency include behaviour change communication and prevention of new infections, HIV counselling and testing, anti-retroviral therapy services, management of opportunistic infections, prevention of mother to child transmission, and community home-based referrals. Liman said the state governments in collaboration with development partners and NGOs have made substantial progress in the response to HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state.

According to him, resources have been mobilized to upgrade health facilities, train personnel, provide equipment, essential drugs, reagents and other supplies to combat HIV/AIDS in the state.To this end, Liman revealed, the agency has established 11 comprehensive anti-retroviral therapy centers that provide treatment to HIV individuals and 23 new HIV counselling and testing centers with support from global fund thus totaling the HCT to 51 in the state.

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