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HIV & Aids: Ameliorating the Rise in Nigeria

By Familugba Victor Odunayo

There are concerns over Nigeria's ability to attain the 90–90–90 targets, which aim to bring HIV testing and treatment to the vast majority of people living with the virus, ad well as reducing the amount of the virus to undetectable levels by the end of 2020.

In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly’s Political Declaration on Ending AIDS committed countries to the 90–90–90 targets, which states that by 2020 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status; 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

But statistics show that the world has not achieved the


90% target, despite the year running out.

HIV/AIDS is an incurable disease that can be contracted through unprotected sex, sharing of sharp objects, blood transfusions etc. It is one of the most deadly virus ravaging the world. A total of 38 million people are living with the virus according to a 2019 report released by World Health Organization, number of infected persons have been recorded to be 76 million while 33 million persons have lost their lives.

International organizations such as WHO, UNAIDS and UNICEF are in partnership with  Nigeria government to combat the deadly virus through funds donation, creating awareness via jingles, advert, door to door interaction, radio and TV programmes amongst others.

According to a press release by the United State Agency for International Development (USAID) on January 26, 2018, $89 million was donated to the Nigeria government to support development goals outlined in a Development Objectives Assistance Agreement between the U.S. and Nigerian governments signed in 2015.

In a virtual interview with Doctor Ogodo Chika of Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe state on the effort of the government to curtail the spread of the global pandemic. He revealed that a lot needs to be done most especially on public enlightenment.  There are persons who are scared to check their HIV status.  He also noted that although government claimed that HIV Patients are tested free, patients still pay a token in some government hospitals.

"The government is trying their best with the assistance of international organizations such as WHO, UNAIDS etc but a lot needs to be done in terms of public enlightenment. There are persons who are scared and do not wish to check their HIV status to avoid unwanted news and also to avoid stigmatization peradventure they test positive for the deadly the virus.

"Also, it is essential to state it clearly that HIV patients in some part of the country pay to get treated contrary to popular belief that everything is free. Although there is a decline in the number of recorded cases but it is advisable for us not to sheath our sword in tackling this pandemic "he added.

Meanwhile, on challenges faced by HIV-positive individuals, a Lagos based health-expert, Mrs. Patricia Ademilua disclosed that most HIV Patients are living in impoverished communities and faced with challenging life circumstances. According to her some of them struggle to feed themselves.

"Most HIV-positive individuals are living in impoverished communities, have lower levels of education than the general population, and face challenging life circumstances such as unemployment, homelessness, lack of adequate health insurance, incarceration, and other social vulnerabilities

"Unfortunately, some of them live in extreme poverty, this is why they must weigh the risk of becoming HIV infected against other risks associated with poverty, including the loss of income, food, shelter, safety, and support for children" she added.

In a statement credited to the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja at the presentation of a book, ‘Turning the tide: AIDS in Nigeria’ by AIDS Prevention in Nigeria Public Health Initiatives. The statement reads:

"Nigeria is winning the war against HIV/AIDS with a significant reduction in its prevalence from 5.8 per cent in 2001 to 1.4 per cent in 2019. Due to government intervention and commitment, the global rating, which before now placed Nigeria second among countries with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the world, now rated the country lower

"This decline in HIV prevalence is a direct result of government commitment to HIV response supported by international donors and multilateral agencies. The global HIV and AIDS statistics from 2019 fact sheet indicate that approximately 36.9million people are living with HIV with 21.7 million people accessing anti-retroviral therapy globally.”

However, the government must continue to partner with international communities. The goal is to eradicate the global pandemic to te barest minimum, focusing more on rural areas through opinion leaders, clergy, billboard advertisement etc.


 

HIV & Aids: Ameliorating the Rise in Nigeria HIV & Aids: Ameliorating the Rise in Nigeria Reviewed by FAMILUGBA VICTOR ODUNAYO on 7:41:00 am Rating: 5

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