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International News

Nigeria Seeks Private Sector Support to Fight AIDS

March 3, 2004

Nigeria -- the most populous nation in Africa -- is looking to the private sector for support in its battle against HIV/AIDS. "We are not asking for money from the OPS [organized private sector], but collaboration, using their core competencies," said Babatunde Osotimehin, head of the state-run National Action Committee on AIDS.

According to Osotimehin, companies should initiate HIV/AIDS education programs for all their employees and provide education, counseling, and medical care for employees already affected by HIV/AIDS. Osotimehin also suggested that mobile phone operators send text messages touting AIDS awareness to their customers. He called on hotels -- which often double as brothels in Nigeria -- to provide HIV/AIDS information leaflets.

The latest official figures show that 5.4 percent of Nigeria's population -- estimated at more than 126 million -- has HIV. But many experts believe that number could be much higher, and they note that HIV is shifting into the general population from high-risk groups like prostitutes, truck drivers, and soldiers.

Osotimehin said young people between 15 and 49 years old are at the greatest risk for contracting HIV, and some $500 million will be needed annually to fight the epidemic.

Back to other news for March 3, 2004

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
More News on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria