Institute urges government to raise funding for HIV/AIDS
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to develop a pool of fund to enable it to cope with the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country instead of relying on grants from donors and partners.
Director of community Medicine in the institute, Dr Anthony Okwuosa who made the call at the sensitization/discussion programme organised by the institute to mark the 2016 World Aids Day in Abuja observed that if all the people infected with the HIV virus have access to treatment, it will end the epidemic.
He noted that funding for HIV/AIDS programmes in Nigeria are donor-based adding that government must come up with its own resources to make it more sustainable.
Okwuosa appealed to religious leaders to encourage their members who are HIV positive to go for medication instead of just telling them to have faith.
He said: “Religious leaders should ensure that they don’t deceive people, it is very important to have faith but not at the cost of not taking their drugs. If patients fail to take their medication effectively, the disease will start getting worse and the patient will start having resistance to the drug thereby making it difficult to treat.”
Okwuosa stated that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria is going down and the number of mother to child transmission has gone down drastically.
He urged persons living with HIV/AIDS to desist from using traditional medicine to combat the virus.
Also speaking, an Associate Director in the institute, Mrs. Asabe Gomwalk, said that the HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination law is being implemented but not much has been achieved considering that it was just recently that the guidelines came out.
“We are working with the states to ensure that everybody understands what it is all about. We want a HIV-free generation by 2030 but Nigeria’s target for now is 2020.
“We want to ensure that everybody that is positive get his own partner to test. When everybody is on drug, we will bring down the level of the virus and the possibility of transmission will be minimal. People living with HIV/AIDS need to work on themselves to overcome stigma, they have to develop self-confidence,” she explained.
On discrimination against HIV patients especially in the workplace, Gomwalk said: “We are only having that issue with the military and this is because of the rigorous training they go through which a HIV patient might not withstand, it should not be a criteria for getting any job and nobody should be discriminated against including in the workplace because of his HIV status because from our experience, once they are on Anti-Retroviral drugs, they do well.”