Akwa Ibom state government has said the rating of the state as having the highest HIV prevalence in the country, as contained in Nigeria Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) report of 2018, is misleading and misrepresented.
The state Commissioner of Health, Dr. Dominic Ukpong, Friday said the report is misrepresented and did not reflect the true position on the prevalence in the state.
Speaking with selected journalists in Uyo, the state capital, Ukpong said the results were not factual.
Ukpong, argued that, if the prevalence rate was 10.8 in 2014, before the present administration came into power and by the National Indicator Impact survey report conducted last year, which showed that the state has 5.5, it therefore means that the prevalence has dropped by half.
He said: “The report of HIV recent rating in Akwa Ibom state was misrepresented. To say that Akwa Ibom state is number one in HIV prevalence is wrong. That is not how to report a case that has a stigma.
“We deal with the facts. We came into government in 2015, we met HIV prevalence rate of 10.8 per cent, which means 10.8 percent of the people are living with the virus.
“Before that date, they had done a survey. The prevalence rate was 10.9 percent, the system of doing this survey is called ‘sentinel’, which means they specifically went to certain areas, like antenatal clinics, to conduct samples test.
“When you select from this source you are likely to have very high prevalence, because that is where people cumulatively go to. That is not how a true survey is carried out. True survey is what we call cross sectional survey. You must go randomly.
Continuing, he said: “When we came in, governor Udom Emmanuel was very concerned that we had such a prevalence in the state and demanded that we open up another survey.
“This time, we did not want that pinpointed survey; we set up a team of intelligent and well educated young men and women to conduct the survey, trained them for two months and gave them accommodation in various areas of the state. That is what we called Akwa Ibom State Indicator Impact survey.
“The result came out in 2017, around November. The prevalent rate dropped to 4.8, as against 10.8 percent recorded in 2014. This is over 50 percent drop which was not acknowledged.
“It would interest you to know that the federal government saw this result and tested it over and over and it was correct. Because of the success of the survey, the federal government adopted Akwa Ibom state pattern for the nation and that came out with what they now call National Indicator Impact survey.”