UNAIDS report alerts Nigerians on AIDS related infections, illness

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

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The UNAIDs 2018 report has alerted Nigeria on the dangers of new infections and deaths from Aids related illness.

The Director General, National Agency for the Control of Aids in Nigeria, Dr. Aliyu Gambo said this in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital while briefing Journalists on the programmes, lined up to mark the 2019 World Aids Day.

The DG says less than forty percent of adolescent and young people, who are the leaders of tomorrow, have correct knowledge of HIV and AIDs.

Dr. Gambo hinted that as Nigeria strives to achieve epidemic control in an environment where international funding for HIV is reducing, efforts of communities is required to ensure that HIV remains top on the political agenda to galvanize International and National funding for HIV and AIDs treatment.

According to him, communities are vital to facilitating an enabling environment that promotes equal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services for Nigerians.

“Communities include networks of people living with or affected by HIV, women and young people, peer educators, counsellors, community health workers, door to door service providers, civil society organisations, religious and traditional leaders, policy makers and activists. Communities have played a significant role in the National response to HIV since its inception and will continue to play a pivotal role till the end of the epidemic”, he emphasized.

Earlier, the Senate Committee Chairman on Communicable Diseases, Senator Chukwuka Utazi charged Nigerians to support those living with HIV to achieve undetectable viral load for their own good and for the good of Nigeria.

He said that achieving undetectable viral load safeguards the health of every Nigerian living with HIV and prevent new HIV infections directly to their partners and indirectly to their unborn child.

The lawmakers also pointed out that this year’s campaign will be geared towards inspiring Nigerians living with HIV who are on antiretroviral drugs for treatment, to reach their goals of viral load suppression.

Senator Utazi added that the campaign is key to Nigeria’s efforts to achieve the third 90 UNAIDS target by 2020.

Also making his remarks, the National President of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria Mr AbdulKadir Ibrahim who commended the government’s commitment to place additional five thousand people living with HIV also urged governments at all levels to review the treatment policies and guidelines to align with WHO standard and global best practices.

The President revealed that they would this year honor some national leaders in Nigeria for their dedication, commitment and continued support and believe in people living with HIV in Nigeria.

He stated that the national leaders known as “HIV Champions” and will be awarded at the Red Ribbon Award night in collaboration with NACA at Sheraton Hotel on 29th November 2019.

Mr Ibrahim thanked global leader for recognizing the essential role communities played over the years in ending the AIDS epidemic as public health threats and Declaration on Universal Health Coverage and the Global Action Plan for healthy lives and well-being for all.

The theme is of the briefing was, “Communities make the Difference”.

Bilkisu Pai