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Last Updated: Friday, 30 April, 2004, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Aids 'has killed 2m Nigerians'
Aids patient
Many Nigerians remain ignorant about Aids
Nigeria has one of the world's highest numbers of people living with the Aids virus, the health minister has said.

Eyitayo Lambo said that some 2.3m Nigerians have already died from Aids, while 3.8m were HIV positive.

Only South Africa and India have more people infected with HIV.

The rate of Aids infection is much lower in West Africa than in southern Africa, where 30% of the population of some countries is HIV positive.

Nigeria - Africa's most populous country, with some 130m people - has been criticised for not doing enough to fight Aids.

"HIV/Aids has now become the most nagging health problem affecting individuals, families and communities," Mr Lambo said.

In 1997, one of Nigeria's best-known musicians Fela Ransome Kuti died and his family said it was Aids-related in a bid to raise awareness of the disease.

The BBC's Jamila Tangaza in Abuja says that the government is now undertaking extensive Aids awareness campaigns.

"But they could still do a lot more, especially in rural areas," our correspondent says.

She says that ordinary Nigerians are now taking the issue seriously but nevertheless "there is still a lot of ignorance."

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