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Nigeria to adopt new HIV preventive measures | Updated: 2012-08-16 09:29

Nigeria is to adopt the new technology for the prevention of HIV transmission, especially among discordant couples.

John Idoko, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control AIDS, said at a post-International AIDS Society (IAS) meeting on Wednesday in Abuja that the country will adopt the use of Tenofovir (pre-exposure prophylaxis) to block the infection.

"We have issues about how to finally put an end to HIV. We are looking for cure, that cure is a preventative vaccine and we are miles away from it but we are now seeing that science and technology is driving us to do new things," he added.

"You can give somebody who is HIV negative the same drugs that we give to people who are on treatment," he said.

"And if he has sexual encounter with somebody who is positive, it is potent enough to protect him from getting infection so that is what pre-exposure prophylaxis is about," the director added.

Idoko said the country needs to ensure new HIV infections are prevented as it will not be able to sustain the number of people on treatment.

According to him, the emphasis on discordant couples is because the country has a large number of such couples.

He added research has not shown any resistance to the drugs.

Idoko said Tenofovir gel could be used by women for the prevention of HIV infection, adding the gel does not contain chemicals that could kill the sperm.

The director general said the country has inaugurated a feasibility study to source its own data so that it will be able to determine how the drugs work.

Idoko called for behavior change by Nigerians to enable the government to fight HIV and AIDS infection.

In his remark, Micheal Odwyer, the Lead Health Specialist at the World Bank, said Nigeria's major problem is project implementation.

Odwyer said the country has lots of policies that have been difficult to implement and advised the government to involve female sex workers as well as men having sex with men in its feasibility study.

He urged the Nigerian government to focus more on what it could do better rather than initiating new ones.

Also speaking, David Okello, the WHO Representative in Nigeria, lamented most times the country did not replicate the lessons learned at important conferences.

Okello advised health officials to domesticate the ideas shared at the conference.

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