FG Launches Guidelines For HIV/AIDS Prevention

Nigerian Government Launches Action Plan Against PneumoniaThe Nigerian government has launched a national guideline for the treatment, prevention and care for people living with HIV/Aids in Nigeria as part of the activities to mark the 2016 World Aids Day.

The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole at a conference in Abuja, stated that the new guideline will provide the needed guide for government and development partners towards eliminating new infections.

For four days, representatives of the federal government, development partners in the health sector and networks of people living with HIV and Aids converged to celebrate the 2016 World Aids Day in the FCT.

The Minister of Health who represented President Muhammadu Buhari, gave the assurance that government would give more commitment to funding HIV prevention efforts while appealing for prudent use of resources.

“I am aware of the challenges that have risen in the last few years with regards to the delivery of HIV services in the country. I hereby reaffirm our commitment and ensure accountability and transparency in the HIV sector,” he stated.

He, however, advised that funds earmarked for the control and treatment of the virus must be used judiciously.

The Minister then proceeded to launch the national guideline for the treatment and control of HIV and Aids in Nigeria

Prior to this, the Country Director for the United States Centre for Disease Control, Hank Tomilinson, explained how much the American government has invested in treatment and care for HIV in Nigeria with the belief that more could be achieved.

“Nigeria has since 2003 received almost four billion US dollars to address HIV prevention in Nigeria. So far the results are encouraging but we are not satisfied,” he said.

FG Launches Guidelines For HIV/AIDS Prevention

Meanwhile, the Secretary of the Network of People Living With Aids in Nigeria (NEPWA), Abdulkadri Ibrahim, decried the lack of access to medications by his members

“We have less than one million that are having ARV treatment.  We have a long way to go. Nigeria accounts for 3.5 million people living with HIV/Aids in this country. We have to fast-track anti-retroviral therapy,” he urged.

The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), Sani Aliyu, described the current status of the virus and the challenges he faces trying to control its spread.

“Almost one in ten people living with HIV globally are in Nigeria. About 600 people acquire the infection every day in our country.

“Now is the time to tackle the challenge of inadequate domestic funding, shrinking donor support, a weak health care support system and a poorly coordinated national response,” he said.

Nigeria recorded 250,000 new infections in 2015, raising the profile of the virus in Nigeria to 3.5 million people.

Only an estimated 800,000 of this population have access to medications.

Experts Decry Stigmatisation Against HIV/AIDS Patients

hiv virusThe National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) says discrimination against people living with HIV remains a major challenge to eliminating new infections.

This is coming one year after the National HIV and AIDS Anti-discrimination Bill was signed into law.

The Director-General of NACA, Professor John Idoko, lamented that continued discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS was an obstacle to achieving the 90% reduction of new infections and death by the year 2030.

Professor Idoko made the remarks at a gathering to unveil the popular version of the HIV and Aids Anti-discrimination Law in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The Country Program Manager, AIDS Health Care Foundation, Adetayo Towolawi, said the event was organised to enable less educated people living with HIV/AIDS know and enforce their rights.

The National Secretary of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWAN), Abdulkadri Ibrahim, also said that despite the enactment of the law, discrimination is making access to treatment difficult for their members.