The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has denounced a fake reported survey claiming that 197 of 199 people tested positive for HIV in a specific area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, who also issued a calm-out call.
The agency in a series of posts via its Twitter account on Sunday said there was no such outreach conducted in Abuja, stating that the accurate data of HIV prevalence in the capital city remains at 1.3 per cent, while Nigeria has a prevalence rate of 3 per cent.
“Statement on high HIV prevalence rates in Abuja: After investigation and reaching out to The Nigerian Red Cross Society (@nrcs_ng), CSOs, CBOs, and other Implementing Partners IPs operating in Abuja, we confirm the statement is entirely FALSE.
“There was no outreach conducted in Abuja, and the claim that 199 people tested positive out of 197 is false. The accurate data shows that Abuja’s HIV prevalence rate remains at 1.3%, while Nigeria has a prevalence rate of 3%. #SayNoToMisinformation,” NACA said.
The agency disclosed the information in response to a well-read tweet from the account @FirstDoctor, in which it was claimed that 60 per cent of the positive HIV tests conducted in Abuja were male and that 119 out of 197 people tested positive
The user who has since deleted the disturbing information stated that the testing was carried out last week by the Red Cross, a global non-profit organisation.
The tweet, which has since received over 1.8 million views on Twitter, was met with shock and calls for caution against the fatal illness that has subsequently claimed the lives of 45,000 people due to HIV/AIDS, according to UNAIDS in 2019.
In response, NACA stated that no outreach in Nigeria could provide a 60 per cent positive response rate. It said it was impossible for any nation, including Nigeria, to have such a high prevalence rate.
The organisation, therefore, condemned what it called “the use of false statistics to drive this critical message” and added that it has forwarded the inaccurate material to the proper authorities that deal with misinformation for necessary steps.
“Additionally, it is essential to clarify that no outreach anywhere in Nigeria could yield a positive rate of 60%. Such a high prevalence rate is not possible in Nigeria or any other country.
“The false statement has been forwarded to the appropriate authorities that deals with misinformation for appropriate actions.
NACA also urged the general public to be faithful to their partners and consistently practice safe sex to protect themselves and others from HIV and other infections.
“As the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, we are dedicated to promoting safe sexual practices, including advocating for abstinence and the correct use of condoms to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. 5/9
“However, we strongly condemn the use of false statistics to drive this critical message. It is essential to disseminate accurate information to effectively combat HIV/AIDS and promote public health. 6/9
“We urge all Nigerians to be faithful to their partners and consistently practice safe sex to protect themselves and others from HIV and other infections. Remember, health is wealth, and each of us must take responsibility for our well-being. 7/9
“If anyone requires further information about HIV prevention, testing, or treatment, we encourage them to reach out to our toll-free helpline at 6222. The helpline operates on Airtel, MTN, and 9mobile networks from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, Monday to Friday. #Call6222 8/9
“Let us work together to create a healthier and more informed society, free from the burden of HIV/AIDS and misinformation. 9/9