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FG revs up fight against HIV

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OVER N2.5 billion has been approved by federal government as part of efforts to step up the campaign against further spread of HIV-AIDS disease in Nigeria.

  The amount was approved for procurement of drugs and other necessities that will cover the treatment burden of another tranche of 50,000 HIV-AIDS patients in Nigeria, bringing the total number of patients under subsidised treatment to 100,000.

  Director-General of National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu, disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, in a press conference to kick off activities marking 2019 World AIDS Day slated to hold under the theme ‘Communities Make the Difference.’

  According to him, government cannot do less than such proactive measures in its bid to reach out to people with the campaign messages following a report recently released by United Nations AIDS (UNAIDS) for 2018 indicating that Nigeria accounts for more than half of all new infections and deaths arising from AIDS related illness.

  “When Dr. Jeremiah Abalaka’s treatment started a few years ago, we handed over 30 HIV patients to him to treat. 29 of the patients died of complications from the treatment. Only one of the patients handed over to him survived. That’s enough proof to show that his claims are untrue,” Dr Aliyu explained.

  The UNAIDS report reiterates a similar finding by HlV-AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) 2018 report which revealed that 1.9 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria, out of which about one million patients are receiving HIV treatment.

Among those receiving treatment, 42.3 per cent have achieved viral suppression, leaving a huge gap of 57.7 percent yet to achieve viral suppression.

  However in his remarks at the event, National Coordinator of Network of People Living With HlV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Abdulkadir Ibrahim, urged government to prioritise key and vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic.

  “Our goal should be to situate human rights at the centre of interventions to achieve zero new infections, zero AlDS related deaths and zero discrimination, and also leave no one behind as we work to end AIDS as public health threat by 2030,” he stated.

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