U.S. to treat 60,000 people living with HIV in Lagos
The United States (U.S.) has explained why it is supporting the treatment of additional 60,000 people living with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) in Lagos State.
U.S. Consul-General in Lagos, Claire Pierangelo, stated this when she led a delegation of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headed by the Country Director, Mahesh Swaminathan, to visit Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos House, Ikeja.
She said Lagos remained significant in the trajectory of HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) epidemic control in Nigeria, and an important area of focus for the delivery of HIV/AIDS services in the country, because of its population, geographic location, and diversity.
Pierangelo highlighted the long-standing support of U.S. to Lagos and its $75 million (N27 billion) budget increase for HIV control activities in Nigeria, with an additional focus for Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) surge in the state.
According to her, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) administered by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Department of Defense, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is implementing an ART surge programme in Lagos to identify and provide treatment to approximately 60,000 People Living with HIV (PLHIV) who have not previously received such treatment.
‘Uncle Sam’ recently announced support to Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Enugu states for the launch of ‘ART Surge’, a programme designed to put additional 500,000 people living with HIV on treatment.
The 500,000 being placed on treatment are in addition to the more than 700,000 already on treatment as part of the overall PEPFAR intervention.
The envoy thanked Governor Sanwo-Olu for his commitment to implement the PEPFAR ART Surge and expressed appreciation for his cooperation with the U.S. government to move the state towards achieving control of the HIV epidemic.
She urged the governor to remove everything hindering PLHIV from accessing free services offered by the U.S. through the PEPFAR programme. Specifically, she highlighted the negative effect of user-fees as a major barrier to PLHIV accessing treatment and urged the elimination of such fees.
The Consul-General noted that disbursement of the additional PEPFAR HIV funds was to help the federal and state governments in reducing or eliminating financial barriers to PLHIV accessing services.
Sanwo-Olu also said his administration was ready to discuss other areas of intervention with the U.S. to make Lagos more sustainable.
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