By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the end HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country is in sight.
The President gave the assurance yesterday while announcing the results of the Nigeria AIDS indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) at the Presidential Villa.
He said, “Today is a critical turning point in Nigeria for a 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.”
According to him, 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,” he said.
Buhari continued “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.
As we mark this important day in the nation’s HIV response, I will like to reiterate the commitment I made at the UN General Assembly in 2017 to progressively add 50,000 Nigerians on treatment every year using government resources. 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 Nationals and response. I am directing NACA and the Federal Ministry of Health to undertake detailed consultations and consensus building with key sectoral Ministries, the legislature, governors of high prevalence states, our development partners and civil society to chart a new strategic path, building on the results of this survey. To guide this process, we are issuing today a “Revised National HIV/AIDS Strategic Framework” document.”