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UN body advises FG on use of data to fight HIV/AIDS


Mutated-Strain-of-HIV-that-Leads-to-AIDS-within-3-Yrs-Found-in-CubaTHE Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has advised the Federal Government to make effective use of data and survey on the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the country to fast-track its elimination.

UNAIDS Country Director for Nigeria, Dr. Bilali Camara, who gave the advice during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja yesterday, said government and stakeholders in the fight to end Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) have to use the data which provides information to be a guide in choose areas of priority.

He said: “It will help us to go where we will have the majority and get what we want at a lower cost and very quickly.

“It is a better public health approach which we encourage the government to venture into.”

According to Camara, the agency is working with International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Civil Society Organisations at all levels on community mobilisation to create the demand for HIV/AIDS services.

“This will avail more people the opportunity to access HIV/AIDS services thereby achieving the target of 90-90-90 by 2020 and eliminating the HIV/AIDS epidemic by 2030,’’ he said.

He said the 90-90-90 target was designed to ensure that by the year 2020, 90 per cent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.

“Ninety per cent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained anti-retroviral therapy and 90 per cent of all people receiving anti-retroviral therapy will have viral load suppression,” he said.

Camara, who said the fund provided by Nigerian government was grossly inadequate to close the treatment gap in the country, declared that Nigeria needs more domestic funding to effectively tackle HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country.

He added that the government had not shown enough commitment in the area of resource allocation to fight the disease.

“The major funding on the fight to eliminate AIDS in Nigeria is coming from the foreign donors. We want to see more commitment from the Nigerian government.

“The government needs to complement the commitment from other partners as much as possible so that more people living with HIV/AIDS can get access to what they needed”, he said.

NAN reports that Nigeria requires not less than $1.2 billion for the treatment of HIV/AIDS in the country.

The foreign donors provide $600,000, representing 50 per cent of the funds required for the treatment programme, while Nigeria provides 25 per cent of the needed funds.

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