HIV AND AIDS IN NIGERIA
- Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and one of the highest rates of new infection in sub-Saharan Africa.
- Many people living with HIV in Nigeria are unaware of their status. Nigeria continues to fall short of providing the recommended number of HIV testing and counselling sites.
- Low levels of access to antiretroviral treatment remains an issue for people living with HIV, meaning that there are still many AIDS-related deaths in Nigeria.
- Punitive laws against homosexuality mean that men who have sex with men face difficulties accessing HIV services.
- Nigeria also has the fourth largest tuberculosis epidemic in the world, with HIV and TB co-infection now becoming an increasing concern for people living with HIV.
Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world. Although HIV prevalence among adults is much less (2.8%) than other sub-Saharan African countries such as South Africa (18.8%) and Zambia (11.5%), the size of Nigeria’s population means 3.1 million people were living with HIV in 2017.
It is estimated that around two-thirds of new HIV infections in West and Central Africa in 2017 occurred in Nigeria. Together with South Africa and Uganda, the country accounts for around half of all new HIV infections in sub-Saharan Africa every year. This is despite achieving a 5% reduction in new infections between 2010 and 2017.
Unprotected heterosexual sex accounts for 80% of new HIV infections in Nigeria, with the majority of remaining HIV infections occurring in key affected populations such as sex workers.
Six states in Nigeria account for 41% of people living with HIV, including Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Benue, Lagos, Oyo, and Kano. HIV prevalence is highest in Nigeria’s southern states (known as the South South Zone), and stands at 5.5%. It is lowest in the southeast (the South East Zone) where there is a prevalence of 1.8%. There are higher rates of HIV in rural areas (4%) than in urban ones (3%).
Approximately 150,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in Nigeria in 2017. Since 2005, the reduction in the number of annual AIDS-related deaths has been minimal, indicative of the fact that only 33% of those with a positive diagnosis in Nigeria are accessing antiretroviral treatment (ART).