Why Nigeria has more female HIV patients than male – NACA

The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr Gambo Aliyu, said six out of 10 persons living with HIV in Nigeria are females.

Aliyu also said young Nigerian women are three times more likely to be living with HIV than men of the same age group.

Aliyu, who made this known in a press statement on Tuesday to commemorate the 2024 International Women’s Day, called for the empowerment of Nigerian women.

The IWD is celebrated on March 8 annually. The official theme of the day for the United Nations is ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress.’

The theme highlights the importance of gender equality, women’s and girls’ empowerment, and their rights to healthier lives.

The NACA DG said, “This year’s theme, ‘Invest in Women, Accelerate Progress’ resonates deeply with NACA’s commitment to advancing gender equality and addressing unique challenges faced by women living with HIV/AIDS.

“Young women living in Nigeria are three times more likely to be living with HIV than men of the same age group.

“Six out of 10 persons living with HIV in the country are females, emphasising the need to invest in women.

“Investing in women is not just a financial commitment, it’s an investment in the sustainable progress of our societies.

“When we empower women, we create a transformative effect that positively impacts families, communities, and the nation as a whole.”

Aliyu noted that in commemoration of the IWD, NACA reaffirmed its dedication to empowering women and girls, recognising their roles in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

He added that the agency remained steadfast in promoting inclusive policies, ensuring access to comprehensive health care, and fostering education to empower women to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

He said, “Through targeted interventions and community engagement, we strive to create an environment that protects and uplifts the dignity of every woman.”

The NACA boss, however, appreciated individuals, organisations, and partners who contribute to the advancement of women’s rights and the global HIV/AIDS response.

“Together, let us continue to work towards a future where every woman can live free from the burden of HIV/AIDS,” he stated.

According to NACA, 1.8 million persons are estimated to be living with HIV in Nigeria, out of which about 1.63 million are already on the lifesaving medication of Antiretroviral Therapy.

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