By Tina George, Minna
The Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CISHAN) and the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) in a press statement to mark the 2018 World AIDS Day have called for the removal of user fees for HIV management.
The statement which was made available to our Correspondent said that charging of user fees for HIV management negates the rights of individuals living with HIV to access treatment.
The statement disclosed that PEPFAR had threatened to penalize countries that still demand user fees for HIV treatment by freezing it’s programme in such countries, “and this would spell doom for the country”, the statement said.
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), the federal Ministry of Health and the federal government were urged to address the challenges and fast track action on the use of health insurance coverage to support service provision for people living with HIV.
“We consider these user fees illegal as there is no policy provision for the payment of any type of fees by people living with HIV in Nigeria in order to access life saving treatment. “
The groups also bemoaned state government attitude towards the provision of adequate resources for HIV/AID in their states despite recommendations for state budgetary allocation for HIV/AIDS.
“We cannot move forward when states to not take responsibility for the health and welfare of their citizens. This is not a plea but a demand, all states must commit budgetary allocations to their HIV response. “
The groups further called for increased support for all persons living with HIV including support and investment in HIV prevention as government was urged to make accessible to the public all HIV prevention tools especially access to Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
“The country need to draw a roadmap for PrEp access so as to maximise the possible gains from HIV testing. “