About 600,000 Nigerian men, women, and children (90 per cent of the people living with HIV/AIDs) are currently on HIV treatment, with more than 55,000 pregnant women being provided anti-retroviral drugs for the prevention of mother-to- child transmission of HIV, the U.S. Consul-General has said.
John Bray, who spoke during a 2016 World AIDS Day programme in Lagos on Monday, said 8.7 million people have received HIV counselling and testing, while 750,000 adults and children living with the HIV/AIDs have received care and support.
“I want to assure you of the U.S. government’s unwavering commitment in supporting partner countries to control their epidemics, and our focus on ensuring every dollar invested has the greatest impact for those in need,” Mr. Bray said.
The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is ‘Leadership. Commitment. Impact.’
Mr. Bray said since its inception in 2004, the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has disbursed more than 3.4 billion dollars to support Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS response.
“As some of you may know, last week the Nigerian federal government launched a simplified version of its HIV Anti-discrimination Act to strengthen the Nigerian HIV response system which is geared towards stopping HIV related stigma by 2020 and eliminating the disease by 2030,” he said.
“The United States government’s commitment to ending the AIDS epidemic cannot be overstated. We invest with our voices, our capacity, and our dollars. PEPFAR is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history.
“Through PEPFAR, we are maximizing our impact by making smart investments to reach those most at risk and in need – preventing millions of new HIV infections and saving millions of lives. PEPFAR is using data to invest in evidence-based interventions in the geographic areas and populations with the greatest HIV/AIDS burden and accelerating country progress toward achieving epidemic control.”
The U.S. government agencies working in Nigeria as part of PEPFAR include the United States Agency for International Agency for Development; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Department of Disease; and U.S. Embassy and Consulate, Public Affairs Sections.
Mr. Bray said the U.S. Department of Defense HIV Program in Nigeria is working to increase the capacity of the Nigerian military medical system to treat and prevent HIV infection among members of the military, their families, and their surrounding communities.
“Uniformed officers from the U.S. military forces work side by side with their colleagues from the Nigerian military to provide services,” he said.
“This partnership has become a model for the implementation of a coordinated approach throughout the world.”
The Consul-General said with the contributions of the U.S. and Nigerian governments, the United Nations, Global Fund, private sector, faith-based community, civil society, and other partners, the AIDS epidemic could be ended by 2030.
“We have the tools and the data to deliver on this promise, but it will not happen automatically or easily,” said Mr. Bray.
“We must not only drive toward controlling the AIDS epidemic but also ensure the long-term sustainability of national HIV/AIDS programs. PEPFAR is using our Sustainability Index and Dashboard (SID) to track, assess, and improve our investments toward strengthening sustainability.
“We must come together as a global community – with urgency, focus, and transparency – to achieve an AIDS-free generation where no one is left behind. One key aspect of transparency is making granular data available. PEPFAR is helping lead the way in this area by making our quarterly program results available for everyone to see and use.”