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Hiv/Aids In Nigeria Essay

2088 words - 9 pages

AIDS is a dangerous disease caused by a virus known as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) that has led to the deaths of millions of individuals around the world, especially in sub-Saharan African countries such as Nigeria. The reason the disease is so dangerous is because it essentially destroys an infected individual’s immune system, leaving him or her to become more prone to contracting dangerous infections and cancers that cannot be fought off due to the lack of T helper cells. The HIV/AIDS epidemic officially began in Nigeria in 1985 when the first two cases of the disease were identified in the country’s largest city, Lagos; they were later reported to an international AIDS conference in 1986 (Adeyi, Kanki, Odutolu, and Idoko, 18). Though nine HIV testing centers were constructed and the National Expert Advisory Committee on AIDS (NEACA) was created by the Federal Ministry of Health in 1987, it was not until democracy was established in 1999 under President Olusegun Obansanjo that the country began a serious widespread effort to combat the disease (Adeyi, et al, 19). During this time gap, the number of infected Nigerians had greatly increased for various reasons, including Nigerians’ insufficient knowledge about the disease, shortage of medication, and lack of HIV testing.
The spread of HIV/AIDS through mother-to-child transmission has had an interesting development over recent decades. In the past, most infected Nigerians were males, such as those who engaged in homosexual relations and intercourse with sex workers. However, in recent years the number has increased. Now the majority of adults living with HIV are female, which is estimated to be about 57% of Nigerians (Adeyi, et al, 349). This is an imperative issue because unlike males, women are the ones who can potentially infect more individuals, i.e., children, through pregnancy and increase the number of those infected with the disease. It is estimated that 90% of Nigerian children infected with HIV/AIDS received it through mother-to-child transmission (Adeyi et al, 349). To demonstrate how widespread this route of transmission is, it is estimated that about 69,400 children were infected with the HIV virus in 2011 and the number will continue to grow unless more action is taken (Federal Republic of Nigeria Global AIDS Response Country Progress Report, 16).
One of the reasons mother-to-child transmission takes place is the lack of access to counseling opportunities for pregnant women. According to the Federal Republic of Nigeria Global AIDS Response Country Progress Report, there are not enough counseling centers for the HIV/AIDS-infected population as a whole, and most are located in only in urban areas where many cannot receive assistance due to lack of transportation and far distance (UNAIDS, 28). Moreover, unfortunately, most Nigerian women are uneducated about HIV/AIDS and the ways it can spread to others, especially those who live in the rural areas. These means that even if...

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