The Programme Manager of the Akwa Ibom state Agency for the Control of AIDS (AKSACA), Dr. Nkereuwem Etok, says 51.6% of married men and women have tested positive for HIV/AIDS infection in the state, a number that outweighs that of prostitutes and sex workers with the disease in the state. Etok disclosed this during an interactive session with newsmen in the state capital, Uyo, yesterday August 1st. He said with the recent survey carried by the agency, prostitutes and sex workers constitute only 4% of those with the viral infection. According to him, most married men and women in the state engage in unprotected sex, hence the high prevalence of the disease.
“We have areas of high prevalence before the statistics started coming we were sure that the most-at risk population will be the commercial sex workers, we were sure that this group will be the most affected but our data showed surprisingly that married men and women are the highest HIV infections with 51.6 percent. The commercial sex workers recorded only 4 percent while those engaged in casual sex recorded second highest with 30 percent’’ he said.
Etok said most of the married couple in the state don’t believe that HIV/AIDS is real and are even unbothered about the health status of their sex partners. He added that traditional belief particularly marrying widows without knowing what killed their husbands, also contribute to the high rate of HIV/AIDS infections in the state.
He called on married couples in the state to always engage in protected sex as well to go for a medical test to know their status.