Limiting HIV Transmission through Screening and Treatment of High Risk Groups
AbstractA significant epidemiologic feature of HIV/AIDS disease is the presence of an unsually long period of inapparent infection of 10-15 year during which the virus can be transmitted from person to person (1). During this phase infection is detectable only by HIV screening. An effective control program should include a strong screening component. Voluntary, self-referral for HIV screening should be available particularly to high-risk group at little or no cost. Most Nigerians would want to know their HIV status. However HIV screening is for practical purposes unavailable and inaccessible to those who need them most – the adolescents and youths who are at greatest risk of the disease and cannot afford the present high cost of screening. Effective antiretroviral drugs are presently available and at lower costs than at the beginning of the epidemic in Nigeria. At the International level there is political will to make these drugs freely available to developing countries. The Nigerian government and its implementing agency must also find the political will and financial resources required to make drugs and HIV counseling and screening freely available to all pregnant women and youths (15-24 yrs) at no cost. This approach should rapidly reduce aim to establish HIV transmission. In order to implement this strategy Nigeria should aim to establish HIV screening and treatment centers in every community.
Key words: HIV Screening, Transmission.
Nigerian Medical Practitioner Vol.46(5-6) 2004: 100-102