Large National Survey Shows Smaller HIV Epidemic in Nigeria Than Once Thought and Highlights Key Gaps Toward Reaching HIV Epidemic Control

March 14, 2019

Washington, DC (March 14, 2019) —The Government of Nigeria released new data today from the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS), one of the largest population-based HIV/AIDS household surveys ever conducted. The NAIIS directly measured HIV prevalence and viral load suppression and was primarily funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). According to the NAIIS results, the HIV prevalence in Nigeria is lower than previously thought, allowing the country to focus on providing services to the areas of greatest need to control the HIV epidemic.

The NAIIS found that in Nigeria the HIV prevalence – the percentage of people living with HIV – among adults age 15-64 years was 1.5 percent (1.9 percent among females and 1.1 percent among males), and among children age 0-14 was 0.2 percent. HIV prevalence was the highest among females age 35-39 years at 3.3 percent and among males age 50-54 years at 2.3 percent. The disparity in HIV prevalence between females and males was greatest among younger adults, with females age 20-24 years (1.3 percent) having more than three times the prevalence of males in the same age group (0.4 percent).

“The first step toward effectively controlling an HIV epidemic is to accurately measure the epidemic,” said Ambassador Deborah L. Birx, M.D., U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy. “The United States Government deeply values its partnership with the Government of Nigeria. For the first time ever in Nigeria, we have robust data that tell us where HIV is concentrated; viral suppression among people living with HIV; the gaps in the HIV response by geography, gender, and age; and what HIV policies and focused resources are needed. I congratulate Nigeria on completing this landmark survey, which all partners must use to optimize HIV interventions and accelerate progress toward reaching HIV epidemic control.”

The NAIIS found that the prevalence of viral load suppression (VLS), a widely used measure of effective HIV treatment in a population, among all people living with HIV age 15-64 years in Nigeria was 44.5 percent (46.2 percent among females and 40.9 percent among males). The disparity in VLS between females and males was greatest among those age 25-34 years, with females age 25-34 years (40.0 percent) being twice as likely to have VLS compared to males in the same age group (20.3 percent).

“Based on Nigeria’s commitment to controlling HIV, we know they will use the NAIIS results to target interventions, reach at-risk groups, and close the gaps that these data reveal,” said Rebecca Martin, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Global Health at U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “CDC is pleased to support Nigeria with our expertise in epidemiology, laboratory science, and program performance to help focus HIV treatment and prevention services where the burden is highest and accelerate progress toward epidemic control."

“We are pleased that the Government of Nigeria and PEPFAR entrusted us to support this survey,” said Man E. Charurat, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention at the Institute of Human Virology, and the Principal Investigator for this survey. “After 15 years of successful scale-up of HIV treatment and prevention services in Nigeria, we can now understand the impact HIV programs have had on the epidemic and where the gaps are in order to pave the ways towards a continued, effective response.”

The NAIIS results were released earlier today by the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari. The NAIIS was led by the Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS; conducted with funding from PEPFAR and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and with technical assistance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and implemented by the NAIIS Consortium, led by the University of Maryland School of Medicine with supervision from the NAIIS Technical Committee. The survey reached more than 250,000 respondents in nearly 100,000 households.

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The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief
PEPFAR is the United States government’s response to the global HIV epidemic, which represents the largest commitment by any nation to address a single disease in history. Through the compassion and generosity of the American people, PEPFAR has saved 17 million of lives, prevented millions of HIV infections, and is accelerating progress toward controlling the HIV pandemic. For more information, please visit www.pepfar.gov, and connect with PEPFAR on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDC works 24/7 saving lives and protecting people from health threats to have a more secure nation and world. HIV and tuberculosis (TB) are the world’s two most deadly infectious diseases, and CDC’s Division of Global HIV & TB works with partners to tackle these two epidemics and produce the greatest global health impact. More information can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/globalhivtb.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine

The University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world, with faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals. It ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity and is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally and globally with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu.

Media Contact:

David Haroz
HarozD@state.gov