Private sector pledges to support FG in HIV/AIDS treatment
Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA) has promised to support the Federal Government in providing Antiretroviral (ARV) therapy to boost treatment and care for people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
The executive secretary, Gbenga Alabi, said the move was in line with the ‘Communities Make the Difference’ theme of the 2019 World AIDS Day.
World AIDS Day, marked on December 1 since 1988, is an international day dedicated to raising awareness on the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease.
According to him, ARVs, which suppress the HIV, stop the progression of the disease and prevent onward transmission, are very expensive, with the United States (U.S.) government supporting Nigeria in its provision.
Once the U.S. pulls out of the supply of the drugs, Nigeria will suffer great loss, he added.
“In fact, more than 70 per cent of ARVs in Nigeria are provided by U.S. government and there is need for us, at this point, to try to own it and sustain it.
“So, ownership and sustainability is the sole responsibility of the government. But government cannot do it alone; that is why the private sector has to come on board to complement government’s effort,” he said.
He said the private sector was also assisting in the provision of testing kits to health facilities, as well as helping carriers to manage the virus.
“As we commemorate the 2019 World AIDS Day, NiBUCAA is making a call for increased access to HIV testing and increased uptake of HIV testing.
“Around the world, 37 million people are living with HIV, yet a quarter does not know that they have the virus.
“Knowing your HIV status has many advantages. It is an essential entry point to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support services. People who test positive are linked immediately to ARV therapy. There has been a good progress on HIV testing and treatment driven by a strong growing commitment to achieve 90-90-90 targets by 2020,” he said.
Alabi added that as part of global efforts to end AIDS by 2030, the coalition would provide free HIV testing services to 5,000 people across various 20 councils in Lagos State for eight consecutive days from Monday, November 25.
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