HIV/AIDS IN NIGERIAHIV/AIDS is a prevalent health problem in Nigeria, with 1.3% of the adult population living with the disease as of 2021. Prevention, detection and treatment have improved in recent years, but considerable progress is necessary to move closer to ending HIV/AIDS in Nigeria by the end of the decade.

Key Statistics

Approximately 1.9 million Nigerians lived with HIV/AIDS in 2021 and the country noted 74,000 new infections in the same year alongside 51,000 AIDS-related mortalities. The country’s large population of around 213 million people means that, despite a relatively low prevalence rate, Nigeria has suffered the most significant HIV epidemic in West and Central Africa.

Women in Nigeria are at higher risk of contracting HIV than men, with an infection rate of 1.6% compared to 1% for men. This gender imbalance is even more pronounced in those aged 15-24, the age group which accounts for 40% of HIV/AIDS cases in the country. Many children suffer, too. Nigerian children make up 14% of the global total of childhood HIV/AIDS cases, with 260,000 new cases recorded in children aged up to 14 in 2015 alone.

Nigeria has not yet met the UNAIDS 95-95-95 targets for 2025 concerning testing and treatment with only 90% of Nigerians knowing their status as of 2021.

Barriers to Elimination

Barriers posing difficulties in addressing HIV/AIDS in Nigeria range from difficulties in accessing treatment, particularly for children and those living in rural areas, to the widespread stigma around the disease which discourages people from seeking life-saving treatment. Late diagnosis is a key issue, with around a third of people only receiving a diagnosis after HIV has already progressed to AIDS. Progress in reducing mother-to-child transmission has been slow too. The prevalence of this form of transmission only dropped by 15% between 2010 and 2020, compared with a reduction rate of up to 70% in other countries, such as Uganda.

Moreover, the Nigerian government has not, thus far, dedicated a significant portion of its budget to the HIV/AIDS response. The majority of funding for programs dedicated to tackling prevention, care and treatment comes from international organizations and donors.

Solutions and Progress

In recent years, significant progress has been made in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. Since 2017, the number of people receiving treatment has almost doubled and 98 more treatment centers have developed. Of the 1.9 million Nigerians living with the disease, approximately 1.62 million are on antiretroviral treatment.

HIV/AIDS prevention in Nigeria takes many forms. This includes the introduction of medications like PEP and PrEP, targeted services for girls and young women in areas with a high prevalence of the disease and the dispersal of barrier methods of contraception such as condoms.

Testing is available in a multitude of venues, including community spaces, homes, workplaces and after-hours clinics that serve communities most at risk. New infections are falling, with the number of recorded cases dropping by more than 10,000 between 2019 and 2021.

The work of organizations plays a critical role. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, for example, conducted the first countrywide survey to assess the state of HIV/AIDS, health care and drug reliance in Nigerian prisons, and as part of this, provided HIV-related training for health workers in Nigerian prisons.

A Look Ahead

Efforts toward tackling HIV/AIDS in Nigeria have greatly reduced the number of Nigerians living with the disease. For those who are infected, health programs have improved both their prognoses and quality of life. More work is necessary for the country to realize its target of eliminating the disease by 2030. The importance of foreign aid to support these efforts is especially important, considering the lack of funding from the country’s own government. The international community can do more to ensure an HIV/AIDS-free future for Nigeria.

Martha Probert
Photo: Flickr

Tuberculosis in Nigeria

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease that attacks the lungs and destroys other organs in the body, causing coughing, weight loss, fever, night sweats and sometimes death. More than one-third of the world’s population is infected with bacteria that could cause tuberculosis, and between 5 and 10 percent of the people infected will become sick. Two million people die from tuberculosis every year.

Poverty and tuberculosis are connected, as many impoverished people live in unhygienic communities with little access to healthcare. Young children and people living with HIV are also at serious risk since tuberculosis is harder to diagnose in both groups. There are many people in danger from tuberculosis, particularly those living in developing countries where poverty and diseases are common. This article will discuss facts, causes and solutions to the problem of tuberculosis in Nigeria.

Tuberculosis in Nigeria

Nigeria is ranked seventh out of the 30 highest burden countries for tuberculosis and second in Africa. Around 470,000 people are diagnosed with tuberculosis in Nigeria every year, leading to more than 150,000 deaths from tuberculosis in 2017 alone.

One of the greatest risks to the Nigerian people is the co-infection of tuberculosis and HIV. It is 16- 27 times more likely that someone with HIV will develop tuberculosis in their lifetime than someone without HIV. In fact, 63,000 HIV positive people are diagnosed with tuberculosis every year in Nigeria and 39,000 HIV positive people die from tuberculosis every year in Nigeria. Nigeria has 3.2 million people currently living with HIV, which makes its population susceptible to tuberculosis.

Another reason that Nigeria has one of the highest levels of tuberculosis is the poverty rate. There are around 152 million people in Nigeria living below the poverty line. These people suffer from poor living conditions, where diseases can often roam free, and lack of healthcare and proper food or shelter. Tuberculosis can also carry a harmful stigma, so many people living in poor communities fail to seek treatment.

Bolatito Aiyenigba, deputy project director for malaria and tuberculosis on CCP’s USAID-funded Breakthrough ACTION, helped to lead a research team to discover the reasons that Nigeria has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world. Aiyenigba said, “Stigma, discrimination and an overall lack of awareness of TB are providing to be major barriers to going to the facility for a TB test. We now have deeper insights into the ‘why’ behind this through patients’ stories.”

Misinformed beliefs cause people to refrain from getting help. For instance, many people in Nigeria believe that tuberculosis is caused by smoking, drinking or witchcraft, or even that it is hereditary, and then try to cure it by using burnt crabs, ashes or oil. Other people don’t believe that tuberculosis testing is free in public health facilities. Groups such as the Breakthrough ACTION project are working to raise awareness about tuberculosis, first by seeking out the problem and then providing a solution.


What is happening to end tuberculosis in Nigeria? In the summer or 2018, minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewale held a symposium focused on “raising future leaders to end TB in Nigeria.” Adewale reminded everyone that the Federal Ministry of Health established the National TB and Leprosy Control Program in 1989 and that since then, Nigeria has been aligned with all World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations.

WHO launched its End TB Strategy in 2014. This strategy aims to eradicate tuberculosis globally as part of the Sustainable Developmental Goals. By 2030, countries that are part of the plan will reduce tuberculosis cases by 80 percent, tuberculosis deaths by 90 percent, and completely eliminate catastrophic costs to families suffering from tuberculosis. Nigeria implemented the WHO’s End TB Strategy in 2016.

Most of all, the Nigerian government is fighting to raise awareness of tuberculosis. With more funding for tuberculosis activities, a guarantee that treatment will be available to the public, and support for people who are already on treatment, Nigeria could take huge steps forward to end tuberculosis. The wife of Nasarawa State governor, Dr. Mairo Tanko Al-Makura, said it all: “We ask for your cooperation in fighting this disease to a stop.”

– Natalie Dell
Photo: Flickr