Nigeria's president: At least 4.2 million have HIV

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com December 07 2002 1:00 AM ET

Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo this week declared that his nation is on the "edge of a precipice" as a result of the worsening AIDS epidemic, noting that Nigeria--the most populous country in Africa--may have the highest number of HIV-infected people in the world. A minimum of 3.5 million Nigerian adults and 700,000 children are living with HIV, he said, but he added that incomplete records and strong social stigma mean a true count is impossible. "There must be at least twice that number of people living silently with the infection and its accompanied diseases," he said. To help combat that stigma, Obasanjo promised that his government will enact laws "making it an offense to deny any HIV-positive person access to social services or gainful employment."