About $2.4 billion is needed to control the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus(HIV) in Nigeria for the next three years, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has said.
The Director-General of the agency, Gambo Aliyu, made this known at the presentation of the 2020 HIV Quarterly Fact Sheet in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the sum was needed to identify and treat additional 540,000 People Living With HIV (PLWHIV) in the country.
Mr Aliyu noted that this development will push the country towards achieving the UNAIDS goal of ending the epidemic by 2030.
HIV response in Nigeria has witnessed significant improvement in recent years. The impact of the response is evident in the results of the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) released in March 2019.
The survey — which cost about $100 million, involved 185 survey teams, and covered more than 200,000 people — indicates that there are 1.9 million people under the age of 64 living with HIV in Nigeria — a 40 per cent reduction from the country’s official national HIV prevalence estimates for 2017.
Sadly, Nigeria is still dependent on various international donors to tackle this epidemic.
Mr Aliyu disclosed that $6.2b was spent to identify and treat 60 percent of PLWHIV in Nigeria between 2005 and 2018.
He noted that international donations account for over 70 per cent of the said amount.
“Between 2005 and 2018, a total of $6.2bn was spent to identify and treat 60 percent (1,080,000) of the estimated PLHIV in the country.
“Interestingly, over $5bn (N2.1trn) of the above sum comes from international donors – US Govt., PEPFAR program or from Global Funds,” he said.
The NACA chief noted that an additional N75 billion will be required yearly to sustain gains already made in the fight against the virus.
He said the sum will ensure 1.5 million people living with the virus receive daily treatment for life.
“Maintaining 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS on treatment daily for life attracts N75b yearly,” he said.
He noted that donor funds will no longer be available when the epidemic is fully under control.
“Our fear is not getting to control this epidemic because we are getting the resources and help we need at this moment to control the epidemic.
“However, after we control this epidemic, what happens? This is the problem. Moving forward, as a country, we will be expected to sustain this tempo and maintain these people on treatment,” he said.
He urged state governments and private sector to support the federal government as more funds will be needed to sustain achievements made in the long run.