At least 5,000 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in 27 camps in Nigeria’s north-eastern Borno State have HIV/AIDS, a local official has revealed.

Speaking to the media on Thursday (1 Dec.), Hassan Mustapha, the Coordinator on HIV/AIDS in Borno, said most of the patients were women who were rescued from captivity in Boko Haram camps.

More than 1,000 patients were identified in Bama camp and 3,000 in Gwoza camp, while over 1,000 others are living in host communities.

Some of those affected were not effectively accessing anti-retroviral therapy because of stigmatisation, Mustapha said.

“The IDPs living with such ailments are constantly challenged… 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,” Mustapha said.

As a result, many of the IDPs living with HIV/AIDS had already died of the scourge because they were not properly counselled and sensitised on the need to enrol under the HIV/AIDS control programme, he said.

According to Human Rights Watch, displaced women and girls were sexually exploited by officials, including security forces and camp leaders.

The UN says 75,000 children are at risk of dying of hunger in north-east Nigeria, as the region deals with the aftermath of Boko Haram violence. As many as 14 million people are in need of humanitarian aid in the region, the epicentre of the seven-year insurgency which has claimed more than 20,000 lives and displaced more than 2.5 million people in Nigeria and neighbouring Niger, Cameroon and Chad.

Source: Premium Times.