Dr Ememabasi Bassey, a medical doctor with the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, on Tuesday said no fewer than 370, 000 people were HIV positive in Akwa Ibom.
Bassey told newsmen in Uyo that HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state stood at 10.8 per cent, which he said, was the second highest in Nigeria.
“As I speak, there are an estimated 370,000 people that are HIV positive in the state,’’ he said.
According to him, less than 15 per cent of this figure is actually undergoing treatment and care in different hospitals in the state.
“As a medical doctor; it occurred to me that I will do myself a disservice if I stand here and I do not raise awareness in that fact.
“Last week, I had the privilege of chairing a HIV/AIDS Summit in Akwa Ibom,’’ Bassey, also a former Commissioner for Health, said.
He said that HIV scourge was a major challenge facing many oil producing communities, especially the Riverine communities.
“If we are not careful, one of the things we will discover in the not-too-distant future is that we will have a depopulation of youths in the Oil and Mineral Producing Communities,’’ the expert said.
He urged government at all levels to commit more funds to the fight against HIV/AIDS to save the most vulnerable members of the society from extinction.
Bassey also urged the stakeholders to work collectively to eradicate the scourge in the state. (NAN)