A new report by the Benue State Action on Control of AIDS (BESACA) has revealed that over one million out of the 4.5 million population in the state have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Executive Secretary of the organization, Mrs. Grace Wende, made the shocking revelation on Thursday at the training of media professional on HIV/AIDS in the State.
A paper entitled “Basic facts on HIV/AIDS,” said that about 400,000 children living with the virus have been placed on antiretroviral drugs (ARV), adding that 708,640 adults are living with the disease.
It was gathered that about two out of five people in the state are carriers of the disease, with women having it more than men.
Wende revealed that majority of the children carriers of the disease, were born with the disease.
“In Benue State, the number of adults infected with HIV/AIDS was 708,640, out of which 21,259 were new infections in 2011. In the same year, 17,139 women were found positive. The number of children requiring ARV was 398,888,” she said.
Wende disclosed that the increase in the scourge was as a result of the nonchalant attitude of the citizens to protected sex and the influx of homosexuals in the state.
Speaking further, Mrs. Wende noted that many men who flock around ladies and engage in unprotected sex also transmit the virus to their unsuspecting wives.
At the moment, according to her, the state has 40 treatment centers where the free antiretroviral drugs are provided to those living with the virus, adding that the state has enough drugs in stock till 2015.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Comrad Wegba, was pained that despite the huge amount of funds the state had committed into the fight against the killer virus, the disease was still spreading.
“The former governor of the state, Chief George Akume, visited Angola to see the havoc the disease wreaked on the land and ways to reduce the scourge. Unfortunately, while the prevalence of the disease has reduced in other parts of the country, Benue is getting worse by the day and this is as a result of our attitude to unprotected sex as well as deliberate move by the carriers to spread the disease,” Wegba said.
He therefore urged the citizens to exhibit self control and as much as possible stick to a partner and use condom.