With 15.5 per cent, Rivers state topped the new chart of HIV/AIDS prevalence states in Nigeria.

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According to NAN, the rating came as a result of test carried out on persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Taraba with 10.5 per cent is second, while Kaduna has 9.2 per cent to be on the third, on the new list.

Nasarawa, FCT, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Oyo and Benue are on the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth spots respectively on the chart.

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Speaking on Sunday during the launch of the `Guinness World Record on HIV Test’ in Markurdi, Benue state capital, Eunice Ortom, wife of the state governor, said Benue had recorded tremendous achievement in its fight against the virus.

Ortom, who is also the chairman, board of governors for Benue State Aids Control Agency (BENSACA), said Benue had over the years been rated highest in HIV and AIDS prevalence, adding that with such laudable HIV test event, it was indicative that the journey to achieving zero case was “just a mile away”.

“Benue had the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate in Nigeria, but due to the dedicated and collaborative efforts of BENSACA and other partners, the state had been lifted to be the ninth in the country,” she said.

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“Our focus over the years is to get to zero prevalence, which implies zero infections, zero HIV-related deaths and zero discrimination against persons with the virus.”

Ortom quoted a World Health Organisation (WHO) report which indicated that7,000 persons were newly infected with the virus everyday in spite of the global adoption of getting to zero case.

She said AHF planned to break the Guinness World Record on HIV test by testing 10,000 persons and issuing results to all in eight hours, thereby ensuring that people got access to testing and counseling services as urgently as possible.

She added that “the concept of testing 10,000 persons and producing results within eight hours is, therefore, not just an exercise for the purpose of breaking the Guinness World Record, but to send a strong message to the world”.

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“The message is that testing is the first step to prevention and treatment of HIV and AIDS and everyone needs to know his or her status.”

In achieving zero prevalence, Ortom said, it was critical to target epidemic hot spots in mega cities to ensure equitable access to quality, cost effective HIV prevention and programmes, among others.

She said the policy statement of UNAIDS and WHO noted that HIV testing must be anchored in a human right approach that paid due respect to ethical principles.

Ortom added that in developing counties like Nigeria, home-based HIV testing and counselling was an emerging approach towards addressing confidentiality issues.

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According to her, HIV test must be confidential and must be accompanied by counselling for those who test positive with the informed consent of the person been tested.



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