Only 33 percent of residents use condoms during sexual intercourse

Akwa Ibom State?s HIV and AIDS Programme Coordinator, Dr. John Markson, on Thursday said only 9 percent of pregnant women in the state patronise Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) centres.

He expressed regret that many pregnant women in the state prefer to patronise prayer houses and herbal product dealers instead.

PMTCT sites are medical centres dedicated to HIV testing and counselling, infant feeding counselling, care and support for HIV infected mothers, their infants and family members.

In 2010, Akwa Ibom was ranked second national sero-sentinel survey of HIV and AIDS prevalence.

?Ante-natal clinic attendance is very low in the state,? Markson said. ?We have 40 functional PMTCT sites in the state for counselling, testing and support facilities.

?The state also has 15 treatment centres for those infected and eligible to take drugs.?

In Uyo, PMTCT sites are operational at the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, St. Luke?s Hospital and Government Health Centre along Wellington Bassey Way.

The HIV and AIDS programme coordinator said that although Akwa Ibom had 10.9 percent HIV and AIDS prevalence in 2010, the rate in some rural communities was up to 14 per cent.

Markson said a survey revealed that although 97 percent of people in the state were aware of HIV and AIDS, only 33 percent used condoms during sexual intercourse.

He explained that those infected with HIV and AIDS were prone to tuberculosis infection, adding that in the state, 25 percent of people living with HIV and AIDS also suffered from tuberculosis.

He explained that the HIV and AIDS Programme office in the state Ministry of Health and the State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA) were poised to ensure that the virus was eliminated.

Markson called for behavioural change among the people and advised them to patronise approved medical facilities for their health needs.

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