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NACA refutes claim that fewer HIV patients get treatment, know status

By Chukwuma Muanya
31 December 2021   |   4:07 am
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has refuted media reports that less than 50 per cent of persons living with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Nigeria...

PHOTO:AFP

Says Nigeria, eight others on track to achieve target
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has refuted media reports that less than 50 per cent of persons living with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in Nigeria have access to treatment and know their status.

Head, Media and Communications, NACA, Mrs. Toyin Aderigbigbe, told journalists, yesterday, that “this statement is not correct. Presently, it is estimated that 1.8 million people living with HIV in Nigeria of which 90 per cent are aware of their HIV status, 96 per cent are on treatment and 84 per cent are virally suppressed.”

She added: “Our estimate shows that 1.8 to 1.9 million Nigerians are currently living with HIV/AIDS. Of this number, 1.6 million are already on treatment. So, we have 300,000 more to go.”

Aderigbigbe said NACA was scaling up HIV testing across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

She also said there are domestic resource mobilisation and provision of drugs for 50,000 patients yearly.

Aderigbigbe said the agency was embracing direct procurement of Anti-Retroviral (ARV) drugs and encouraging local manufacturing of kits and ARV in the country.

The spokesperson pointed out that a new analysis by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that Africa made significant in tackling the ailment in the last decade, reducing new infections by 43 per cent and nearly halving AIDS-related deaths.

However, Aderigbigbe said the continent “is unlikely to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 with many countries falling behind key elimination milestones and COVID-19 aggravating challenges.”

She stated that, according to the analysis published yesterday, only nine countries: Botswana, Cape Verde, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe are on track to reach the 95-95-95 target by 2025.

To achieve the 2030 global development goal of ending AIDS, nations must ensure that by 2025, 95 per cent of people living with HIV know their status (target 1), 95 per cent of those who know their status are on treatment (target 2) and 95 per cent of those receiving treatment have their viral load suppressed (target 3).

The Fast-Track strategy to end AIDS was initiated in December 2015 by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and then in December 2020, the new 95-95-95 five-year plan replaced the previous targets.

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