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HIV/AIDS in Kwara: 432 children infected in 6 months

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3.3m in Nigeria, 35m people globally

NO FEWER than 432 children were infected with HIV and AIDS between January and June in Kwara State.

This was disclosed by Coordinator of Kwara State Action Committee on HIV and AIDS (KWASACA) Dr Seleem Alabi yesterday at the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Kwara Chapter Week in Ilorin, adding that the programme was organised to sensitise women journalists on the importance of regular screening on HIV and AIDS.

Presenting a paper entitled “HIV/AIDS an Opportunistic Infection” Alabi said that the cases recorded were from mother-to-child transmission either at birth or through breastfeeding, explaining further that babies become more vulnerable when exposed to infected blood or breast milk, because HIV is a virus that lives in human blood, sexual fluids, and breast milk.

According to Alabi, HIV weakens the immune system, so that the body will have a swell time staving off common germs, viruses, fungi, and other invaders. He said that the infection would spread from person to person when certain body fluids were shared, usually during vaginal or anal sex, or when sharing drugs through injection, adding that it could also be passed to the human body from infected needles, tattoos and body piercing as well as spread through oral sex, which he stressed had very slim chances.

The coordinator said statistics shows that about 35 million people are victims of HIV and AIDS worldwide while 3.3 million of them are Nigerians, pointing out that advances in anti-retroviral therapy has made it possible for people with HIV to live longer and healthier.

He cautioned that the public could prevent HIV and AIDS transmission by avoiding the sharing of sharp objects such as razor blades, used needles and syringes, but warned that the state government had put in place laws that imposed between N50,000 and 100,000 fine on anybody stigmatising people living with HIV and AIDS in the state.

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