Herpes in Nigeria

Herpes in Nigeria Image

Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that targets the mouth and reproductive organs of the body. The disease is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV), which has two types: type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2). 

HSV-1 is known to cause oral herpes, which infects the lips and mouth. Symptoms include cold sores and fever blisters. HSV-1 is not considered an STD by many healthcare experts, but it is still a serious health concern.

HSV-2, better known as genital herpes, is more severe than its oral counterpart. It affects the genital area, unlike HSV-1, which is limited to the mouth and causes lesions, including blisters and sores, on the skin. HSV-2 can only be contracted by skin-on-skin contact with an infected person. To contract HSV-2, you must come into direct contact with either the mucous membranes from or an exposed cut of an infected individual.

Having one type of HSV does not guarantee that you have the other one too. The two types act independently of each other and even target different areas. However, it is still possible to have both if you contract them at the same time, but one cannot cause the other.

Herpes in Nigeria

Nigeria is in the midst of a healthcare crisis; the rates of genital herpes in Nigeria are higher than in any other country with an estimate of 77.8% of adults being carriers of HSV-2. Older people have a higher prevalence of the disease, with the 51-60 year age group having the greatest rate of disease occurrence. The rates of prevalence are higher in unemployed people than in those with jobs. 

Pregnant women also experience cases of HSV-2. A survey carried out in Benin, Nigeria, showed that a staggering 46.3% of consenting pregnant women from a sample population were HSV-2 positive. 

Diagnosis of Herpes

Herpes is diagnosed by either one or a combination of the following methods:

  • Viral Culture: A lab test is conducted on a sore or tissue sample from the patient.
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR): This method is used to replicate your DNA from a sample of your blood, sore tissue, or spinal fluid. The resulting DNA is then tested for HSV.
  • Blood test: a blood sample is tested for the presence of HSV antibodies.

An expert physician, especially one working in a region densely affected by herpes, can also diagnose the disease based on a simple physical exam.

Portable Herpes Test Kits

Due to the strong prevalence of HSV in Nigeria, the government and many organizations have made efforts to make self-examination common. Luckily, this can easily be done with the help of portable herpes test kits. 

These kits contain testing materials like cotton swabs and test tubes, as well as shipping envelopes. A person who suspects an infection must collect either a sore tissue sample or mucus sample and send it to the given address marked on the kit inside the special envelope provided inside the package. After a few days, you can access the test results online.

If you’re worried about being infected, but feel uncomfortable about going to the hospital, this is the perfect choice for you!

Challenges Associated with Treating Herpes in Nigeria 

Nigeria is suffering from a herpes epidemic. Despite efforts from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other NGOs, the virus still runs rampant amongst the Nigerian people. There are several challenges associated with the eradication of HSV in Nigeria. 

Firstly, Nigeria is a developing country with the highest levels of poverty in the world, overtaking other developing nations like India and Ethiopia. This poverty is the primary reason why it has become so difficult to eliminate herpes from the area. 

Due to poverty, the Nigerian people face a severe shortage of medication as well as testing methods. Their overall lack of education has led to most adults being unaware of the dangers of herpes. This lack of awareness prevents them from practicing safe sex, which increases the likelihood of HSV contraction. 

Those who are aware of the symptoms of HSV often have limited methods of confirming it. There is both a shortage of hospitals and testing kits in the region. Even the efforts made by NGOs are insufficient to confront the healthcare issues faced by the 86.9 million people living in poverty in Nigeria.

Additionally, the shortage of clean water and the prevalence of unhygienic conditions have led to an increase in HSV cases as the majority of Nigerians cannot afford to practice good hygiene.  Due to poverty, many people also cannot afford contraceptives and are thus exposed to diseases that are transmitted through direct contact with genital sores and mucus. 

Interestingly, HSV sometimes appears with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Reports say that HSV-2 makes it easier for people to contract HIV, but making it harder to treat them because of the compromised state HIV puts their immune system in. This is by far the most complicated challenge faced by healthcare providers trying to eliminate HSV in Nigeria. 

An individual affected by HSV-2, as well as HIV, cannot be treated the way a person with only HSV-2 would. Using excessive medication would harm the patient more than help them because of how weak HIV/AIDS has made their body.

Nigeria is severely affected by herpes, which is caused by HSV. It is a viral disease that cannot be treated with antibiotics, making treatment harder than initially anticipated by healthcare experts. The majority of adults in Nigeria suffer from HSV, especially HSV-2, which affects the genital area.

Despite the efforts of multiple NGOs, termination of herpes seems near impossible due to the widespread challenges that affect Nigerians. There is no exact solution for the condition, but medical experts around the world are working towards a cure.

References:

https://www.pulse.ng/lifestyle/beauty-health/genital-herpes-causes-symptoms-and-prevention-of-this-ailment/xnv9z5t

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319524.php#transmission-of-hsv2

https://allafrica.com/stories/200810140635.html

New Survey Results Indicate That Nigeria Has an HIV Prevalence of 1.4%

Nigeria and HIV

According to a study conducted by UNIAIDS and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), about 1.9 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria. However, the federal government of Nigeria has released a result that indicates an HIV prevalence of 1.4%.

Read More: HIV in Ghana is on the rise

This is contrary to the previous estimates of 2.8%. During the launching of the Revised National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework (2019-2021) held in Abuja recently, Muhammadu Buhari, the President of Nigeria, acknowledged that there are now fewer people living with HIV in the country than before. This is a clear indication that the country has improved drastically with preventive measures and response to the epidemic in recent years.

Optimism of possibly ending AIDS in Nigeria by 2030

The president also expressed optimism that the end of AIDS by 2030 might become a possibility for Nigeria. He went ahead to urge all stakeholders and relevant agencies not to relent in their effort to bring the epidemic to an abrupt end.

Mike Sidibe, who is the Executive Director of UNAIDS, acknowledged the new estimates as a welcomed development. He went further to express satisfaction about the country’s present disposition towards HIV and AIDS. That it will allow the country to reach out to more people living with the virus, he also expressed optimism that the end of the epidemic is drawing nearer come 2030.

New estimates

According to the new estimates, there are more women (15-49 years) living with HIV than men. The national prevalence is 1.4% among adults between the ages of 15 and 49 years. HIV prevalence in children is about 0.2% of the total population of people living with the virus. However, several NGO’s and agencies have risen to stop the spread of HIV among children and infants.

With the new estimates, it is expected that the federal government can better invest in preventive measures and conduct effective planning for the control and prevention of HIV and AIDS in the country. More so, some populations will be controlled and limited to the barest minimum, such as female sex workers. When the virus is heavily suppressed, the rate of transmission through sex will be significantly reduced.

The Minister of Health

In a speech delivered by the Minister of Health, Isaac F. Adewole, he opined that people living with the virus need to have access to healthcare and retroviral drugs to achieve a high degree of suppression. He also said that pregnant women should have access to antenatal care and undergo proper testing for the virus during each pregnancy. “Early detection is the key to controlling the spread of the epidemic. Let’s ensure the next generation is free from HIV,” he concluded.

The new data generated are more accurate than the previous estimates because they are based on an enhanced methodology and an expanded surveillance system. Over the years, the number of facilities and agencies responsible for HIV prevention has tripled. The number of mother-to-child prevention centers has increased drastically. This has led to an increase in the response rate to the epidemic.

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