Nigeria: No, Nigerian Red Cross Society Didn’t Conduct HIV Tests That Showed High Number of Cases in Abuja

IN SHORT: The National Agency for the Control of Aids has clarified that no tests were conducted by the Red Cross and that the provided statistics were false.

A post circulating on Facebook in Nigeria claims that the Nigerian Red Cross Society (NRCS) conducted HIV tests on 197 people in Abuja and 119 were positive.

“So last week, the Red Cross reportedly ran HIV tests for 197 people in Abuja, Nigeria. 119 of them were positive and 60% of the positive tests were male. If you can’t control yourself, use condoms. Just stop playing games with your life,” the post reads.

Abuja is the capital city of Nigeria.

HIV, or the human immunodeficiency virus, targets the immune system by destroying CD4 cells, a type of white blood cells that play an important role in fighting off disease. This makes the body more vulnerable to many other illnesses.

The NRCS was established in 1960 by the government. It complements the work of public authorities in humanitarian interventions.

The claim was posted on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Tackling HIV across Africa has been a priority for most governments on the continent. Claims of an increase in cases could cause panic and fear.

But did the NRCS really conduct HIV tests in the capital city and find that about 60% of the results were positive?

Statement is false

According to the latest official data, Nigeria has a national HIV prevalence of 1.3% among people aged 15 to 64. In the Federal Capital Territory, where Abuja is located, the prevalence is 1.4%. This is lower than the prevalence rate suggested in the Facebook posts.

Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of Aids coordinates HIV/AIDS activities in the country. In July, it said on its official Twitter (now known as X) account that the NRCS did not conduct any HIV testing in Abuja and that the statistics were false.

“After investigation and reaching out to The Nigerian Red Cross Society (@nrcs_ng), CSOs, CBOs, and other Implementing Partners IPs operating in Abuja, we confirm the statement is entirely FALSE,” the tweet reads.

“There was no outreach conducted in Abuja, and the claim that 119 people tested positive out of 197 is false.”

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