At least 5,000 people across 27 refugee camps in the northern Nigerian state of Borno have the auto-immune virus HIV. Most of these are women who were rescued from or escaped Boko Haram captivity and were raped by the jihadist militia.
“We have heard of many supporting non-governmental organisations in Borno but none of them has approached us to offer assistance to the IDPs with the virus,” Hassan Mustapha, the Coordinator on HIV/AIDS told media. “The IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] with such ailment are constantly challenged; they do not go out to access drugs. Most of them are shy while some are afraid to be identified by others as carriers.”
He said the stigma prevented many from seeking adequate help and accessing anti-retroviral therapy.
“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,” he said.
Boko Haram is a jihadist group that has waged a campaign of terror across northern Nigeria since 2009. They pledged allegiance to the Islamic State in March 2015 and are now the Islamic State in West Africa. Boko Haram was responsible for over 6,000 deaths in 2015, more than any other terrorist group in the world.
For more information about Boko Haram and its campaign of terror, see Clarion Project’s Factsheet: Boko Haram Nigerian Islamist Group