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Nigeria's President: At Least 4.2 Million HIV-Infected in Africa's Most Populous Nation

December 5, 2002

In a strongly worded speech the day after World AIDS Day, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo declared his nation is on the "edge of a precipice" as a result of the worsening AIDS epidemic. A minimum of 3.5 million Nigerian adults and 700,000 children are living with HIV, he said, but he noted that incomplete records and strong social stigma mean a true count is impossible: "There must be at least twice that number of people living silently with the infection and its accompanied diseases," he said. He promised his government will enact laws "making it an offense to deny any HIV-positive person access to social services or gainful employment."

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Excerpted from:
Associated Press
12.02.02; Haruna Bahago

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