- President Buhari has assured Nigerians of a sure end to the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country
- The president made the assurance during the unveiling of the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and impact survey (NAIIS) 2018
- According to President Buhari, the survey was designed to provide data needed bu Nigeria to adequately plan and consolidate on the progress towards the elimination of HIV in Nigeria
The prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria has dropped from 3.0% to 1.4% within four years, the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and impact survey (NAIIS) 2018 has said.
The survey which was unveiled on Thursday, March 14, by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) puts the number of people in the country leaving with the virus at 1.9 million.
NAIIS directly measured HIV prevalence and viral load suppression, allowing Nigeria to focus on providing services to the areas with the greatest need to control the HIV epidemic.
Speaking at the unveiling of the survey at the Presidential Villa, President Muhammadu Buhari said the availability of accurate and reliable HIV data for the country was crucial for planning effective health interventions to arrest the HIV epidemic and ultimately rid the country of this health threat.
President Buhari said the survey was designed to provide data needed bu Nigeria to adequately plan and consolidate on the progress towards the elimination of HIV in Nigeria.
“We are already a step ahead in this regard, as the Federal government has ensured that the HIV treatment programme in Taraba and Abia is properly funded this year and accommodation made to resource future expansions in the coming years," President Buhari said
He said: “I am delighted that these more accurate figures indicate that fewer Nigerians are affected by HIV. However, we cannot celebrate yet, as almost a million Nigerians living with HIV are currently not on treatment. Now that we have data that will help us target for impact, I urge all of us not to relent in this fight, but to increase the momentum in a concerted effort to end the epidemic ahead of 2030.
“Today is a critical turning point in Nigeria for an HIV epidemic that has killed many of our countrymen and women. The end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 is truly in sight for our country. Let us, therefore, work collectively and push for the last mile,” he added.
Also speaking, the minister of health, Isaac Adewole, said that with donor partners, PEPFAR and the Global fund 1.1 million Nigerians had been placed on life saving treatment.
Adewole said: “As you may be aware the first case of AIDS in Nigeria was reported in 1986, since then, the epidemic has grown steadily from 1.8% in 1991 to 3.8% in 1993, 4.5% in 1995, 5.4% in 1999 and peaked at 5.8% in 2001.
“The prevalence began a gradual reduction from 5.8% to 5% in 2003, this decline continued to 4.4% in 2005, 4.6% in 2008 and 4.1% in 2010. By 2014 the HIV prevalence rate was 3.0%. The Nigerian HIV/AIDS indicator and Impact Survey findings provide Nigeria with an accurate national HIV prevalence measure of 1.4%," the minister stated.
Also speaking, the director general of NACA, Sani Aliyu, said the NAIIS gave a greater clarity on the extent of the HIV epidemic, and a clear sense of direction on what needed to do to achieve our goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS in Nigeria by 2030.
Aliyu said it is important that all the people living with HIV get into treatment and achieve viral suppression.
"To halt the epidemic, we need to act now. As a government working with our partners, we have what it takes to support persons who are HIV-positive, to provide treatment, to protect their families and to help people live long and healthy lives," Aliyu said.
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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Nigeria's First Lady Aisha Buhari had called on Adewole, to work towards the mobilisation of funds from various government agencies for tackling challenges faced by People Living With HIV/AIDS.
Aisha while speaking at the launch of the "Nigeria Free To Shine Campaign" on the elimination of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria in Abuja on Friday, December 7, said Nigeria does not need funding from foreign countries and agencies before dealing with issues of HIV in the country.
Reacting to the ordeal faced by women living as narrated by one of the members of the Association of Peoples Living With HIV/AIDS, Aisha said while it is important to note that many people living with the disease in Nigeria are unaware of their status, efforts must be made to ensure the provision of the essential needs of the individuals.
She said that as a UNAIDS ambassador her vision is to end mother-to-child-transmission and eliminate HIV/AIDS from the country.
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