USAID, Akwa Ibom hold dissemination event for first-ever AIDS indicator survey

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The findings of the first-ever Akwa Ibom AIDS Indicator Survey (AKAIS) were unveiled Monday in Uyo, Nigeria, during a dissemination meeting of HIV/AIDS stakeholders, hosted by the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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FHI 360 Nigeria Country Director Dr Robert Chiegil, speaking during the dissemination event
FHI 360 Nigeria Country Director Dr Robert Chiegil speaking at the dissemination event

The study, which was funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), was a collaborative effort between the State Government and USAID’s flagship HIV/AIDS and TB project – Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS), which is being implemented by FHI360.

The Akwa Ibom AIDS Indicator Survey (AKAIS), a population based cross-sectional survey, was carried out across the 31 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state, between April and June 2017. A total of 4,313 households were sampled while 7,791 children and 9,145 adults totaling 16,936 people were tested for HIV.

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The study revealed the HIV prevalence among children 0 to 14 years was 0.4% while the prevalence among persons 15 years and older was 4.8%. The overall prevalence rate of HIV in Akwa Ibom was found to be 2.8% against the previously circulated figure of 10.8% obtained from a sentinel study.

The study further revealed a 0.41% annual incidence of HIV among adults ages 15 years and older. The number of new infections was closely similar in females as in males – 0.41% among females and 0.42% among males. However, the HIV incidence in ages 15- 19 years was higher than the rest of the age groups; translating to nearly half of the new HIV infections occurring in the adult population.

After a review of key findings by the technical team and dignitaries present, Patrick Essiet, coordinator of the state’s AIDS/STI Control Program presented a summary of the keys findings and recommendations from the study. The consensus among stakeholders at the event included the need to mobilize support from all stakeholders to ensure the fight against HIV/AIDS gets the required attention to achieve epidemic control.

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In his speech at the dissemination event, FHI 360 Nigeria Country Director Dr Robert Chiegil, expressed FHI 360’s gratitude for the support and collaboration of the government and people of Akwa Ibom state. He said FHI360 was excited to support the conduct of “ this very important survey” which was the first of its kind in Akwa Ibom adding that the survey had brought a lot of benefits to the state including economic benefits to the over 1,500 persons involved in the survey.

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The dissemination event was attended by His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State Udom Emmanuel represented by the Secretary to the State Government Etekamba Umoren; Deputy Director, Office of HIV/AIDS & TB at USAID, Kelly Badiane; Senior Strategic Information Advisor at USAID, Annie Chen-Carrington. Others were Nigeria Country Director of FHI 360, Dr. Robert Chiegil; Chief of Party of the SIDHAS project, Satish Raj Pandey.

The event was also attended by representatives of Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA). Others were from Joint United Nations Program on HIV&AIDS (UNAIDS); Akwa Ibom Network of People Living with HIV&AIDS (AKNET) as well as key HIV/AIDS stakeholders from within and outside of the state.

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