July 3, 2014 – Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LASCA) is partnering with other West African Countries to reduce prevalence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus(HIV) and the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome(AIDS) in the West African sub-region.
The partnership became imperative after a study to determine HIV prevalence among truckers, their apprentices, brothel-based and non-brothel based commercial sex workers by visiting trucks parking lots to measure knowledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) among each target group at Abidjan, Tema, Lome, Cotonou and Apapa Ports.
The study was conducted in parking lots serving the five deep water ports of the corridor and dry ports within 20km of the deep water ports.
Presenting the report to the public at the Lagos State Chambers of Commerce and Industry,[LCCI] the project supervisor in Lagos, Mr. Micheal Essien stated that the rationale behind the study was as a result of the major roads and borders crossing which helped in accelerating the transmission of the virus due to the high mobility of people, goods and services between the countries.
He added that the Abidjan-Lagos corridor served major economic cities of the five West Africa countries of Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. The 1022km long corridor served resident population of about 30 million people with traffic of nearly 47million people in transit per year.
The truck drivers, according to him, represented 51.4% of all truckers, from age 28 with the youngest being 15 years old and oldest 80 years old.
Minors under 21 years constituted 16.6%. Half of them about 45.8% were married. He said their educational background ranged from primary (34.1%) to secondary (38.8%) 45.5% of the truckers, adding that they drink alcohol, while one trucker out of ten uses drugs (9.0%).