A total of 16,588 People Living Positive (PLP) with HIV have been enrolled and placed on treatment in the last twelve months by the Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria (BACATMA) as against 13,503 enrolled in 2017.
The disclosure was made by the Executive Chairman of the Agency, Dr Muhammad Sambo Alkali on Sunday during the occasion of the 2018 World AIDS Day celebration organized by BACATMA in Bauchi.
He said that: “This year’s enrollment is highly symbolic in the history of HIV/AIDS in the state as the fight against the disease clocked 30 years with a significant reduction in the spread of the infection from 6.8 per cent in 2001 to 0.6 per cent in 2018.”
According to him, the Agency has also procured and distributed a total of 120, 000 units of HIV Rapid Test Kits distributed to 323 health facilities in order to strengthen prevention of mother-to -child -transmission (PMCT) of HIV revealing however that 72 infants have been diagnosed to be HIV positive the year 2018.
He added that the reason for the cases for the infants was due to low execution of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV screening stating that “If HIV mothers had been screened during the antenatal care (ANC), it would have prevented the infants from contracting the virus.”
Muhammad Alkali also noted that since its establishment in 2008, BACATMA was able to organize and support matched making marriages of 156 couples living with HIV adding that the wedlocks resulted to the delivery of more than 70 babies who were tested negative to HIV.
He then disclosed that to ensure that children born to HIV positive mothers have their status known, the Agency has established sample collection laboratory for transfer and retrieval of DBS and Viral load samples to PRC laboratories outside the state.
He explained that: “World AIDS Day first began in 1988 and we hold it so that we can call for the compassion and support that is needed to stop this epidemic and to lessen its impact. It is observed to draw media and public attention to an epidemic that has affected people and communities in every part of the world. Truly, this is a disease that knows no boundaries whether of income, religion, gender or nationality.”
“The theme of the 2018 World AIDS Day is, ‘KNOW YOUR STATUS’ and this is where communities, civil society organisations (CSOs), donor partners and media need to put more efforts in our dreams to attain 90, 90, 90 by 2020,” he stated.