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$6.2b spent to identify, treat HIV patients, says Fed Govt

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$6.2b-spent-to-identify,-treat-hiv-patients,-says-fed-govt

By Moses Emorinken, Abuja

The Federal Government has said it spent $6.2 billion to identify and treat Persons Living With HIV (PLWHIV) in the country.

It also said $1.2 billion of the total resources used in treating 70 per cent of the 1,080,000 PLWHIV, came from domestic funding.

National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) Director General, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, announced this during this year’s commemoration of the World AIDS Day in Abuja.

He said: “With my personal demonstration of self-testing at Abaji in Bwari Area Council (in the Federal Capital Territory) last Thursday, I encourage all Nigerians to take up the responsibility of knowing their HIV status by going for a test.

“We continue to make great strides in our response to the HIV pandemic with the collaborative efforts of our partners. The United States Government, United Nations Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) and indeed the UN system, The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are highly appreciated in this regard.

“HIV prevalence in the last 18 years has reduced from a peak of 5.8 per cent in 2001 to 1.3 per cent in 2018, implying that 13 out of 1,000 persons selected randomly in Nigeria are now likely to be positive.

“Last year, 44,830 Nigerians were estimated to have died from HIV/AIDS. We have spent $6.2 billion to identify and treat 70 per cent of the estimated 1,080,000 Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV) and $1.2 billion of this was from domestic sources.”

Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, recalled that as of June, 2020, over 1.2 million HIV patients had been placed on antiretroviral drugs (ARV), which will not only save their lives but will also ensure that their viral loads are suppressed to prevent transmission to others.

“Without doubt, there is need to continue to raise awareness about HIV, promote the rights of people living with HIV and, importantly, ensure access to life-saving HIV medicines for them. This year has been unique because of the new challenges to our health system and our lives brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, in spite of which, I am pleased to note, we are still on track to ending the AIDS epidemic in Nigeria,” he said.

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