PHOTOS: Nigeria, US Govt Launch Special Campaign On Eliminating HIV/AIDS

 

The Nigerian and United States government on Monday led a renewed campaign, code named “you equals you” targeted at eliminating the HIV and AIDS pandemic in Nigeria via active community participation.

The Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Olokun Lawal and the US Deputy Chief of Mission Kathleen Fitzgibbon during the launch on Monday said Nigeria has made great progress in reducing HIV prevalence from 4.4 percent in 2005 to 1.4 percent in 2018.

They also solicited support of communities to stop stigmatisation and encourage more people to know their status and be placed on treatment.

Seep photos from the event below…

Nigeria Gradually Winning War Against AIDS – NACA

 

The National Agency for the Control of AIDS says Nigeria is gradually winning the war against HIV/AIDS.

At the ongoing Nigeria Implementation Science Alliance Conference in Abuja, the agency noted that the infection rate in the country has dropped by four per cent.

The conference is aimed at discussing how to achieve impact in addressing the burden of infectious diseases through research implementation.

More to follow…

HIV/AIDS: Almost A Million Infected Nigerians Not On Treatment – Presidency

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has raised concerns over a report which states that “almost a million Nigerians living with HIV are currently not on treatment” under the national HIV programme.

Speaking at the presentation of results of the Nigeria HIV/Aids Indicator & Impact Survey (NAIIS) 2018 on Thursday in Abuja, the president noted that it couldn’t have come at a better time.

He stated that with the data, his administration would commence full implementation of the National Health Act which will ensure that every Nigerian has access to comprehensive health services.

“The official HIV prevalence for persons aged 15-49 years in Nigeria is now 1.4 per cent. An estimated 1.9 million Nigerians are now living with HIV with about one million persons on treatment.

“However, we cannot celebrate yet, as almost a million Nigerians living with HIV are currently not on treatment. Now we have data that will help us target for impact.”

“The Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey and its results have come at the right time as we commence the full implementation of the National Health Act that will ensure that every Nigerian has access to comprehensive health services,” he assured.

The President also called on the Nigerian private sector to provide funds for HIV/AIDS-related activities to support the efforts of the government.

“I also welcome the move by the Nigerian private sector to establish a National HIV Trust Fund in the coming months to support our goal of ensuring that all Nigerians have access to high-quality HIV treatment and prevention services. If we are to achieve epidemic control and end AIDS in Nigeria, we need a more coordinated and funded national response,” he said.

NACA Commences AIDS Indicator And Impact Survey In Ogun

Illegal Structures

 

The National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) has commenced the Aids Indicator and Impact Survey to ascertain the number of people living with the disease in Ogun State.

The survey is also aimed at knowing the number of people who need health services as well as providing relevant information to improve the quality of HIV treatment across the 20 Local Government Areas of the state.

The Director-General of the agency, Sani Aliyu, who visited the state on Thursday, said about 112 enumerated areas have been covered in the exercise representing about 90 per cent of the total coverage area.

He also stated that about 17,000 people living with the disease in the state which includes 800 pregnant women are currently receiving treatment.

Every Three Minutes, One Teenage Girl Is Infected With HIV – UN

 

Every three minutes, a girl between the ages of 15 and 19 is infected with the virus that causes AIDS, said a UN report on Wednesday.

Henrietta Fore, head of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), referred to this as a “crisis of health”.

“In most countries, women and girls lack access to information, to services, or even just the power to say no to unsafe sex.

“HIV thrives among the most vulnerable and marginalised, leaving teenage girls at the centre of the crisis,” she said.

According to data unveiled at the 22nd International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, girls and young women made up two-thirds of 15- to 19-year-olds infected with HIV in 2017.

Last year, 130,000 youngsters aged 19 and under died from AIDS, while 430,000 — almost 50 every hour – were newly infected, the agency said.

While AIDS-related deaths have decreased since 2010 in all other age groups, among older adolescents aged 15 to 19 they have remained stubbornly constant.

About 1.2 million 15- to 19-year-olds were living with the immune system-destroying virus in 2017, three in five of them girls, said UNICEF.

“The epidemic’s spread among adolescent girls is being fuelled by early sex, including with older males, forced sex, powerlessness in negotiating about sex, poverty, and lack of access to confidential counselling and testing services,” it pointed out.

Actress and activist Charlize Theron raised the issue in an address to conference delegates on Tuesday.

Youth bulge

The AIDS epidemic is “not just about sex or sexuality,” the South African celebrity said. “We know it is linked to the second-class status of women and girls worldwide.”

Robert Matiru, director of operations for Unitaid, which funds HIV drug projects, said young people are disproportionately affected by the epidemic that has claimed some 35 million lives since it erupted in the 1980s.

“They are the most affected now, across sub-Saharan Africa in particular,” he told AFP.

“Unless we can reach young people and curb the epidemic among them… then we’re not going to meet the targets” of the UN to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.

This requires limiting infections to 500,000 per year by 2020, yet last year they numbered 1.8 million.

A recent report of the International AIDS Society (IAS) highlighted the epidemic’s “extraordinary impact” on adolescent girls and young women.

“Four in 10 adolescent girls (aged 15-19) in Africa have experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner, and the evidence is that gender-based violence is associated with a significantly greater risk of acquiring HIV,” it said.

“Yet few countries have invested in comprehensive programmes to combat gender-based violence or to ensure ready access to adolescent-friendly sexual and reproductive health services.”

According to IAS president Linda-Gail Bekker, “in young people, it (the AIDS epidemic) is far from over.”

“In certain parts of the world we are about to go into the youth bulge, so we’ll have more young people than we’ve ever had in the world before,” she told AFP.

“Young people have grown up, they are incredibly mobile, they are moving, they have forgotten that HIV is a risk factor… we can’t let up on that message, otherwise it just blows up again.”

AFP

UN Official Cites Violence Against Latin Women In Spread Of HIV

Ignorance, Fears Hinder Fight Against HIV - Edo SACA

The virus that causes AIDS is spreading among women and homosexuals in Latin America, due largely to the violence and discrimination that afflict both groups, according to a United Nations official.

“The rise in the number of infections is occurring among young women and homosexual men, both of whom live in situations of discrimination,” Luiz Loures, deputy director of the UNAIDS program, told AFP.

Because they are discriminated against, he added, people in these groups sometimes shun society and do not take part in prevention programs.

Across Latin America, the overall number of infections of the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been stagnating, a worrying phenomenon when compared to other regions, like Africa, where it is in decline.

Loures, who holds the rank of UN undersecretary general, was in San Jose this week to take part in a forum organized by ICW Latina, which brings together women living with HIV.

At the forum, he drew a clear link between high rates of violence among young Latin women and high HIV rates.

“Our statistics clearly show that where there is violence there is HIV,” he said, adding that “women who suffer violence may have an HIV risk 30 to 50 percent higher than those who do not.”

He added that more than 30 percent of young women in Latin America say they have suffered physical or sexual violence, a rate he called “very high, and very concerning.”

– Worrying levels of violence –

In fact, women in Latin America — and particularly in Mexico and Central America — face the highest rates of violence of women anywhere in the world, according to a report by the UN Women office.

The other problem is the difficulties many women face in obtaining needed care or information on reproductive health, with 42 percent of women in some countries saying they have suffered discrimination in health centers, Loures said.

“This is a permanent problem and it leaves a black mark on the region,” he said. “Until we reduce violence and discrimination, there is no way to stop the new infections” of HIV.

In 2016, some 540,000 women in Latin America were living with AIDS, and of them, 73,000 were between the ages of 15 and 24, according to UNAIDS. Throughout the region, a total of some 1.8 million people carried the virus.

This year, an estimated 27,000 new HIV infections will afflict women in the region, 28 percent of all new cases, the organization said.

Loures noted that Latin America was the first region in the world where a movement arose in civil society to demand treatment for HIV patients, leading some governments to guarantee treatment. But he said the Latin countries will have real difficulty in reaching a UN goal of eradicating infections by 2030.

While many people with HIV were being treated, others were yet to be served, he said.

“We need to do much more,” Loures said. “We have to do a better job of ending violence against women, which for me is a more important epidemic than that of HIV.”

Read Also: W.H.O Tells Farmers To Stop Using Antibiotics On Healthy Animals

AFP

U.S Ambassador Commends Nigeria’s Fight Against Hiv/Aids

symingtonThe United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has commended the Federal Government and agencies involved in the provision of care and treatment for HIV/AIDS patients.

This is in collaboration with the American Presidential Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.

The envoy gave the commendation after inspecting a laboratory and other equipment donated by the U.S to the Aids Prevention Initiative Nigeria (APIN), a Public Health Initiative in Jos, Plateau state.

Since 2004, the Nigerian government as well as other donor agencies have been involved in providing care and treatment to HIV and AIDS patients in collaboration with the American Presidential Emergency Plan for aids relief.

An estimate of about 3.2million people are living with AIDS in Nigeria, experts say all hands must be on deck to reverse this alarming statistics.

Agencies, Groups Seek Sustainable Financing For HIV/AIDS

NACA, Agencies, Victims Seek Sustainable Financing For HIV/AIDSA community of people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria is calling for the establishment of a national trust fund to finance the national HIV/AIDS response.

The group made the call at a meeting of the National Council On Aids in Abuja to discuss sustainable financing options for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

According to them, the current financing mechanism with donor partners contributing over 70% of the national funding for HIV/AIDS is not sustainable.

According to the 2008 report of the United Nations Program On HIV/AIDS, 3.1% of people between the age of 15 and 49 were living with HIV/AIDS as at 2007.

That prevalence rate led to the formation of the National Council On Aids in 2007 to mobilize states resources against the ravaging effects of the HIV pandemic.

Ten years after, members of the National Agency for the Control of Aids say the current funding mechanism with government contributing less than 30% of total funding is no longer sustainable.

“The current HIV funding in Nigeria is not sustainable. It is driven primarily by international donors. We need to take our destinies in our hands,” the Director General said.

The National Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS also appealed to the council to consider a national trust fund for HIV/AIDS intervention.

“One way forward for us to own our destiny and take charge is for us to have a national aids trust fund that can be able to take charge of domestic resources.

“We need not wait for statutory allocation every year, we need not wait for the donors to come and help us all the time,” he said.

Corruption

However, a member of the House of Reps Committee on AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria emphasized the need for transparency in the administration of funds and drugs for people living with HIV/AIDS.

“We have to make sure that we eradicate corruption from our daily lives. Sometimes people go the clinics, they cannot access these drugs but then you can pay money from outside and you get these drugs. That is corruption.

“So in as much as we are looking at system strengthening at this level, we must all make sure that we get to the end users and make sure that these drugs are given to them especially because the finance is not going to be there as it used to be.”

There are currently about 3.4 million people living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria with an annual death rate of 180,000.

Experts say the situation could get worse if a sustainable financing option is not devised in the face of dwindling donor funding.

US Launches $1 Million Support Programme For Nigerian HIV/AIDS Victims

USAIDS, United States, HIV/AIDS, NigeriaThe United States government has launched a $1 million programme to support HIV/AIDS affected children and families in Nigeria.

The programme was launched by the Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Michael Harvey, in Benin City, the Edo State capital in south-south Nigeria.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Edo State Government House, Mr Harvey said that the programme would benefit 15,000 families affected by HIV/AIDS in Edo, Benue, Kogi and Nasarawa States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

He also pledged that the US would continue to assist Nigeria to overcome the current economic and security challenges in the nation.

HIV Prevalence Rate Below 2% In Nigeria – NACA

NACAThe National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) says Nigeria has done well with funds it received from the World Bank Assisted Project towards the elimination of the HIV/AIDS virus which presently stands at below 2% prevalence rate.

The Director, Partnerships Coordination of NACA, Emmanuel Alhassan, gave the statistics in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, at a HIV Programme Development Project retreat (HPDP 11) held by staff of NACA.

NACA staff from various departments and units gathered to look at the work plan that it has with the World Bank Assisted Project towards ensuring that it meets the project development objectives within the timeline it has.

And with just about eight months to the end of the timeline, appraisal on how the funds were utilized towards eradicating the virus became necessary.

According to Alhassan, the retreat would help team members rebuild strategies on how to provide better services to infected patients and possibly get a zero prevalence rate latest by 2030 if the intervention from World Bank is renewed.

Deputy Director, Partnerships Coordination, Dr. Funke Oki, said that NACA has gone a long way in this fight even in the face of challenges but a lot still needs to be done.

The present World Bank Assisted Project is expected to end in February 2017.

Nigerian Senate Promises To Sustain War On HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS, Nigerian SenateSenate President Bukola Saraki says the National Assembly would continue to give the required attention to the fight against HIV/AIDS in the country.

Senator Saraki  stated this when he received a delegation from the Champions for an AIDS-Free Generation in Africa, led by former President of Botswana, Dr. Festus Mogae and ex-Vice President of Uganda, Dr. Speciosa Wandira, in the National Assembly.

The Senate President promised that the National Assembly would play its own role in the areas of funding and advocacy in the fight against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

The leader of the delegation and former President of Botswana, Dr Festus Mogae had earlier called on the three tiers of government to champion and channel more resources for advocacy towards sensitizing the people.

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.