5,000 victims of Boko Haram, mostly women infected with HIV/AIDS

No fewer than 5,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 27 camps in embattled Borno state in northeastern Nigeria are HIV-positive.

Mr Hassan Mustapha, the Coordinator on HIV/AIDS in Borno, said on Thursday that most of the patients were women who had been rescued from Boko Haram captivity.

Mr Mustapha, however, said that some of those affected were not effectively accessing anti-retroviral therapy because of stigmatisation.

He lamented that many had died of the scourge, lacking proper counselling and sensitisation on the need to enrol under the HIV/AIDS control programme.

He said there are more than 1,000 patients in the Bama camp and 3,000 in Gwoza while over 1,000 others are taking refuge in host communities.

“We have heard of many supporting non-governmental organisations in Borno but none of them has approached us to offer assistance to the IDPs with the virus,” he said.

“The IDPs with such ailment are constantly challenged; they do not go out to access drugs. Most of them are shy while some are afraid to be identified by others as carriers.

“They sometimes complain to us that they are not allowed to go out of the camp to access drugs in other centres.

“The honest truth is that the government is not paying priority attention to the plight of such persons,” Mr Mustapha said.

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has caused havoc in northern Nigeria through a wave of bombings, assassinations and abductions.


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