October 25, 2020

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Treatment of 1.5m patients key to sustaining control of HIV annually — NACA

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The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) says treatment of at least 1.5 million Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) is key to sustaining control of HIV annually in Nigeria.

The Director-General of NACA, Gambo Aliyu, said this during a 2020 quarterly HIV facts sheet in Abuja on Tuesday.

Mr Aliyu, who expressed the commitment of the agency to reaching the UN Joint Action on AIDS (UNAIDS) target for epidemic control in the next three years, said it would cost about N75 billion.

“1.3 million is the current HIV prevalence rate nationwide and in the last 10 years, we have invested $6.2 billion for treatment.

“Over $5 billion of the above (N2.1 trillion) comes from International donors,” he said.

Mr Aliyu reiterated the agency’s willingness to drastically reduce transmission through regular testings and identifications.

According to him, HIV is at the verge of being controlled by the time we have 99 per cent of persons living with HIV tested and placed on drugs.

The director-general disclosed the plan of the agency to bring in states into the sponsorship of treatment in order to sustain control of the epidemic.

Mr Aliyu said the agency has the capacity to simultaneously fight HIV while COVID-19 lasted.

He said that they deployed their infrastructure to support COVID-19 with over 15, 000 HIV community volunteers from stakeholders who supported contact tracing, social mobilisation and fight against stigma and discrimination.

“25 to 30 per cent of COVID-19 tests were conducted in six HIV mega laboratories.

“HIV sample transfer mechanism replicated for COVID-19 response in four states.”

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The NACA boss, however, said that COVID-19 impacted negatively on HIV response with a decline in Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ART) from expected 39, 450 to 21, 495 in April, representing a 45.5 per cent drop.

He noted that COVID-19 also affected the provision of HIV services with a drop in viral load testing and clinical activities.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that an estimated 1.8 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria with Akwa Ibom having the highest prevalence rate, suggesting that 13 out of every 1,000 persons selected in the country at random are likely to test positive.



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