The first two cases of AIDS in Nigeria were discovered in 1985 and reported in Lagos in 1986, one of whom was a young female sex worker from a West African nation who was 13 years old. As AIDS was thought to be a sickness of American homosexuals, the announcement of this first AIDS case spread dread, uncertainty, and disbelief throughout the entire country. There were several acronyms created at the time, one of which was “American Idea for Discouraging Sex,” because some individuals believed the AIDS tale was an American plot to discourage sex.
Despite the previously mentioned misperception held by the Nigerian populace, 220,000 new HIV infections were recorded worldwide in 2014 since the epidemic’s start in the middle of the 1980s. Most victims were adults older than 15 years old. In 2014, a significant number of new HIV infections in children (aged 15). Notably, earlier research has connected a large number of HIV infections in children to their mothers. As of 2014, it was predicted that 3.0 million adult populations were living with the disease and 747,382 persons were receiving anti-retroviral therapy.
While the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is often low throughout much of the nation, the states of the federation with the highest rates of HIV prevalence are Benue, FCT, Anambra, Bayelsa, and Akwa Ibom.
These significant differences in prevalence rates between these states may be brought on by a number of variables, including but not limited to cultural variations, various levels of education, differences in religion, and various socioeconomic structures. These factors must interact in order for HIV/AIDS outcomes in these states to occur. There are roughly 400 different ethnic groups in Nigeria, and the differences in sociocultural and religious customs have an impact on the risk of HIV transmission. Notably, some behaviors will increase the risk of HIV transmission, such as having multiple, concurrent partners, giving birth outside of a medical facility without a trained doctor or nurse, performing female genital mutilation, using unsterile traditional bloodletting techniques, and traditional marking and tattooing.
Following the discovery of the country’s first case of AIDS in 1986, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) established the National Expert Advisory Committee on AIDS (NEACA) and asked the WHO for assistance, which led to the opening of several HIV testing facilities and the development of a comprehensive medium-term strategy for the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS. However, until the country’s return to democracy in 1999, no significant steps to combat the disease were seen.
Following the restoration of democracy, the government “kick starts” the fight against the epidemic in the nation by fostering relationships with numerous international organizations to conduct surveys on specific aspects of HIV/AIDS, such as the National Demographic and Health Survey (National Population Commission, 1999, 2003), the National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS) (Family Health International, 2000), and the Behavioural Surveillance (BSS).
The most thorough information on HIV/AIDS cases reported in Nigeria in 2000 was also made public by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NMR). The institution obtained data on all diagnosed HIV infections, AIDS cases, and AIDS-related deaths from the records of 1,057 health and laboratory facilities, including 289 public hospitals, 370 private hospitals, and 181 public laboratories, as well as 217 private hospitals.