Dr Dominic Ukpong, Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Health, had dismissed insinuations that promiscuity could be responsible for the high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the state.
Ukpong stated this at the Post National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) discussion and Stakeholders’ Engagement Meeting in Uyo on Sunday.
According to the Nigerian HIV/AIDs Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), Akwa Ibom had the highest prevalence rate of HIV in the country.
According to the survey, 5.5 per cent of people living with HIV in Nigeria were in Akwa Ibom, followed by Benue which had about 3.5 per cent prevalence rate.
Ukpong expressed worry that the high prevalence rate was being interpreted by many as a sign of promiscuity among the people of Akwa Ibom.
According to him, Akwa Ibom people had been very religious and held firmly to the tenets of chastity and fidelity.
He, however, stressed that HIV/AIDS education was low and that the people were engaging in behaviour which exposed them to the virus, with particular reference to the activities of the traditional birth attendants.
Ukpong said that the virus could be transmitted through other channels besides sex, even as she appealed to well-meaning individuals to get tested and disclose their status to their partners.
Dr Sanmi Adedokun, Director, Monitoring and Evaluation, said the prevalence rate was higher along the coastal boarders which had a lot of immigration activities.
He said that the Akwa Ibom State, though with the highest rate in the last survey, had recorded a commendable drop in HIV/AIDS prevalence from 10.8 in 2014 to 5.5 in 2017.
Adedokun said that there should be a conscious inclusion of schools in HIV/AIDS sensitisation and education, stressing that the survey also revealed that 79.3 per cent of adolescence had HIV/AIDS information from their teachers.