From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has raised alarm over rising cases of transmission of HIV infection from infected pregnant mother to their unborn children.
NACA specifically confirmed that 9,999 pregnant women tested positive for HIV/AIDS in 2020 out of 2,504,678 pregnant mothers that were tested for HIV.
The Agency said the rise in the burden was apparently due to lack of utilisation of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services by pregnant mothers.
Director General of NACA Dr Gambo Aliyu, in a statement to celebrate the 2021 Children’s Day, challenged HIV positive pregnant mothers to take a moment to think about children living with HIV and their families.
‘As we celebrate with our children, please join and help us win the fight against HIV in children by encouraging pregnant mothers to get tested for HIV to protect their unborn children. No child should be born with HIV in Nigeria,’ he said.
He maintained that Nigeria still accounts for a significant proportion of children living with HIV infection globally even though there has been progress in anti-retroviral coverage for pregnant women living with HIV/AIDS.
Dr Aliyu, however, disclosed that In 2020, Nigeria successfully increased PMTCT service sites to over 6,000, with 37,111 pregnant women receiving anti-retroviral treatment.
He said that despite the progress, a lot more needs to be done to stop children from getting infected with HIV so that Nigeria can be sure of a have a HIV-free generation.