Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) is alarmed by the rise in numbers of male sex workers.
The agency said Abuja alone was home to some 3,500 confirmed cases.
NACA is worried by the figures because over 60 per cent of the men (it did not document their partners) were married, which increases the fear of the vulnerability of their spouses to HIV.
“NACA Director-General of NACA John Idoko explained that the agency was focusing on these sex workers and their families in the drive to curtail the spread of HIVAids.
“He singled out three areas in the Federal Capital Territory – Gwagwalada, Bwari and Abuja Municipal – as the hotspots of male sex activity.
“Prof Idoko said the agency was developing interventions to reduce contact between infected and uninfected persons.
“Even with modern technologies, HIV prevention was complex, according to Prof James Blanchard, the director of Global Health at the University of Manitoba and a visiting lecturer in Nigeria.
The complexity, he says, was caused by social factors that needed to be addressed such as political commitment and aocacy, laws and labour policies and community mobilisation.
“We need to match our HIV interventions with the population of HIV distribution. We need to get down to the micro level to know where we put our resources. We have the sex workers, persons who inject drugs and men who have sex with men,” he said.
Prof Blanchard explained that the NACA survey had identified eight priority states because HIV was not evenly distributed, adding that there were very large populations of HIV-vulnerable people in parts of Abuja, Lagos and Nasarawa and Benue states.
“”We found that in Benue, 60 per cent of men who visited bars, restaurants and hotels were seeking sexual partners while 12 per cent of the females were seeking sexual partners and 9 per cent of those who patronise these places are female sex workers,” said Prof Idoko.
SOURCE: AFRICA REVIEW