In 2016, Nigeria accounted for 37,000 of the world's 160,000 new cases of babies born with HIV. The most populous country in Africa, Nigeria does have an exceptionally large HIV-infected population of 3.2 million people. In other countries, however, rates of mother-to-child transmission of HIV have plummeted, even in far poorer countries. Mother-to-child transmission is only one part of Nigeria’s HIV epidemic. But that route of transmission epitomizes the country’s faltering response to the crisis, highlighting major gaps in HIV testing that allow infections to go untreated and the virus to spread.
Science reports that Nigeria has more HIV-infected babies than anywhere in the world. The journal's most recent issue provides an in-depth look at HIV/AIDS in places where "ending AIDS" is a distant hope: Nigeria, Russia, and Florida. In partnership with Science, the PBS NewsHour released a companion five-part series and video report, "The End of AIDS: Far From Over" in which they feature the reporting. This project was supported by the Pulitzer Center.
These projects reveal a multitude of factors that contribute to the high number of HIV/AIDS cases in Nigeria and barriers to treatment including poverty, fear of stigma and discrimination, lack of education, health system constraints, and corruption. Dr. Muktar Aliyu, VIGH Associate Director for Research, and his identical twin brother, Dr. Sani Aliyu, the head of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in Abuja, Nigeria, were quoted in this project.
Read the article from Science and view the visual report from PBS NewsHour to learn more.