Fifty-four babies delivered in Nasarawa State between January and September 2017 have tested positive to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Zakari Umar, Executive Director of Nasarawa State Aids Control Agency (NASACA), has said.
Speaking in Lafia, capital of the state, on Thursday, Umar said out of the 1,194 pregnant women who keyed into the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) HIV programme in 2017, 54 of them transmitted the virus to their babies.
“Science has proven that it is possible to totally eradicate mother-to-child transmission of HIV if pregnant women adhere to medical advice and take their drugs regularly,” NAN quoted him as saying.
He explained that the cases of transmission from mothers to babies were due to lack of adherence to medical advice and refusal to take prescribed drugs.
“Those women whose babies tested positive must have refused to comply with their drug regimen during pregnancy.”
Umar stressed that the case of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the state had reduced over the years due to sensitisation and other preventive measures taken by stakeholders.
He said available records from 2016 indicated that 66 babies were born with HIV, noting that reduction in transmission of the disease to babies in 2017 was due to sensitisation and adoption of the PMTCT programme.
He also advised members of the public to avoid acts capable of making them vulnerable to the virus, adding that “the virus is not yet over, hence the need for people to take preventive measures”.
He said Nasarawa State had domesticated the anti-stigmatisation law aimed at protecting those living with the virus.
Umar, therefore, advised those being stigmatised on the account of the disease to always seek redress at the appropriate quarters.