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Nigeria needs $1.2bn to treat HIV/AIDS – UNAIDS


AIDSDr Bilali Camara, Country Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), on Tuesday said Nigeria required $1.2bn (N236.4 trillion) for the treatment of HIV/AIDS in the country.

Camara said this during the training workshop on the ambitious 90-90-90 treatment target organised by UNAIDS in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) in Abuja on Tuesday.

He said the foreign donors provide 600,000 US dollars (N118.2 million), which represent 50 per cent of the funds required for the treatment programme, while Nigeria provides 25 per cent of the funds required.

According to Camara, the fund provided by Nigerian government is grossly inadequate to close the treatment gap in the country.

He said that Nigeria needs more domestic funding to effectively tackle HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country.

He added that the governments had not shown enough commitment in the area of resource allocation to fight the disease.
“There is lack of leadership at state level to address the issue in pragmatic way,” he said.

He said that the workshop was organised to sensitise health correspondents and other stakeholders on the target, which aims at fast tracking the HIV response.

“Our intention is to ensure that journalists reporting HIV/AIDS keep on helping the public to understand and support the drive to achieve the target by 2020.

“The participation of representatives of people living with HIV will give us an opportunity to get new ideas that will keep Nigeria on the path of ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030,’’ he said.

The country director said the target would ensure that by the year 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.

“90 per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90 per cent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral load suppression,’’ he said.

Mr Edward Ogenyi, the National Coordinator of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPHWAN), said when people living with HIV understand the 90-90-90 target and drives the process it will send the message down to the communities.

“It will also ensure that more Nigerians will be tested for HIV and the ones who need treatment will access it.

“The target motivates those who are already on treatment to adhere to it so they can suppress the virus and continue to live a healthy and productive life,’’ he said.

NAN reports that the 90-90-90 treatment target was launched at a high-level political session of the 20th International AIDS Conference held in July 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.

The UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, called for a new set of treatment targets by 2020 at that conference.

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