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HIV infections, AIDS-related deaths rising in Nigeria, says report


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A new report has disclosed that Nigeria is one of the 50 countries in the world where new HIV infections are rising.

The report by the Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), said more than half of Nigerians (51 per cent) bears the burden of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in West and Central Africa.

The report, launched yesterday in Paris, France added that AIDS-related deaths are also not falling fast enough, even as flat resources are threatening success.

The report was titled: “Miles to go-closing gaps, breaking barriers, righting injustices.”

It noted that new HIV infections in Nigeria declined by only five per cent (9,000) in seven years (from 179,000 to 170,000), and expressed concern about the trend, despite the efforts by the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA).

The report noted that there had been little progress in reducing new infections of HIV and AIDS; despite global plans to end the disease by 2030.

The report said half of all new HIV infections are among key populations and their partners, who are still not getting the services that they need.

According to the report, only one in three people living with HIV is on treatment, representing 33 per cent, adding that HIV treatment coverage had increased from just 24 per cent two years ago.

UNAIDS, at an event co-hosted with Coalition PLUS, warned that at the halfway point to the 2020 targets, the pace of progress is not matching global ambition.

Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé, said: “We are sounding the alarm. Entire regions are falling behind; the huge gains we made for children are not being sustained.

“Women are still most affected, resources are still not matching political commitments and key populations continue to be ignored.

The report warned that West and Central Africa, not just Nigeria, is lagging behind on all fronts.

It noted: “Just 26 per cent of children and 41 per cent of adults living with HIV had access to treatment in these places in 2017, compared to 59 per cent of children and 66 per cent of adults in eastern and southern Africa.

On the way forward, the report suggested collaboration between health systems and individual communities.

This, it said, would reduce stigma and discrimination and deliver services to the vast majority of the people who need them the most.

The body called for immediate action to put the world on course to reach critical 2020 targets, where 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy are expected to have viral suppression.

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