HIV among Nigerian prisoners is twice that of the general population -UNODC

The United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes( UNODC) has made public a study showing that HIV among inmates of Nigerian prisons was 2.8%,compared to 1.4% reported in the general population .

According to Dr. Oliver Stolpe, a representative of UNODC in Nigeria, the study was conducted by the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime(UNODC) in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Nigerian Prisons Service , the Federal Ministry of Health, Heartland Alliance International, the US Agency for International Development(USAID) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS( UNAIDS) .

A Statement which was issued by UNODC on Thursday said the study was carried out on 2,511 inmates in the 12 prisons across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.

Report showed a 6.9% HIV prevalence among women and a 2.7% HIV prevalence among men.

The report also revealed that those with no formal education and those older than 45 years old have the highest HIV prevalence, 3.8% and 8.1% respectively.

By geopolitical zone, HIV prevalence was found to be lowest in prisons located in the North-East region 1.4% and highest in the North-Central region( 7.1%).

South-South region was 2.2% , North-West 2.6%, South-West 2.8% and 3.9% in South-East.

While 4 per cent reported to have engaged in consensual sex with other people in prisons, over 70 per cent reported that consensual sex between people in prisons occurred and this was higher among males (76 per cent) than females (28 per cent).

Also, 60 per cent of the respondents indicated that sex was being offered for goods and services and this was reported to be higher among male prisoners (64 per cent) than females (12 per cent).

Overall, positive Tuberculosis screening was 46 per cent and this was similar for both male and females. Positive TB screening was higher among older people in prisons compared to younger ones. By geopolitical zone, it was lowest in the North-East (17 per cent) and highest in the South-South (71 per cent), the report stated.

The results for positive TB screening in others zones were 21 per cent (South-West), 36 per cent (North-West), 41 per cent (North-Central) and 63 per cent (South-East).

Both injecting and non-injecting drug use were reported by people in prisons. About 50 per cent of respondents had a lifetime history of use of cannabis compared to 11 per cent among the general population.

“For non-medical use of opioids, it was 16 per cent among people in prisons compared to five per cent among the general population. The most common drugs used in prison were cannabis and opiates.

“Estimated population of people who inject drugs in prisons is as about 2.5 per cent compared to 0.05 per cent among the general population. About two per cent of respondents reported initiating injecting drug use in prisons,” the study added.

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