The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) on Tuesday in Abuja restated its commitment to achieving the UN’s vision 95-95-95 aimed at ending AIDS by the year 2030.
Dr Gambo Aliyu, its Director-General, while addressing a news conference to mark the 2020 World AIDS Day, said that the agency would continue to intensify efforts toward reducing HIV prevalence.
“We shall continue to test people and assist those infected,” he said.
He promised to engage women and adolescents in NACA activities, especially the Prevention Protection and Empowerment (PPE) programme.
The Director-General called for greater commitment on the part of communities toward eliminating HIV.
Aliyu also commended President Muhammdu Buhari’s efforts toward tackling the spread of the disease, and particularly lauded government’s regular funding of the agency.
Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV (NEPWHAN), who also spoke, called for intensified efforts to eliminate the burden of HIV, especially among the youths, women and children.
Ibrahim said that Nigeria had yet to achieve the 2020 goals of UN Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) aimed at diagnosing 90 per cent of HIV positive people and providing lifesaving Antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 90 per cent.
“Available data shows that from 2010 to 2019, Nigeria has only reduced 10 per cent of HIV new infections where youths and children are newly infected every day.
“If we are to achieve epidemic control by the year 2030, we must take responsibility by coming up with targeted HIV testing programme such as self-testing and awareness creation at community level,” he said.
The national coordinator called for synergy among stakeholders to achieve desired results in accordance with Nigeria’s 2020 World AIDS Day’s theme – “United to End HIV in the Midst of COVID-19, Get tested”.
He commended Dr Erasmus Morah, UNAIDS Country Director, for standing for the HIV community and key affected population.
He emphasised the need not to leave anyone behind in the fight against HIV by taking increased risks involved in reaching those who were left behind.
Ms Ulla Mueller, Country Representative of UNFPA, called for closer attention to adolescents in the fight against HIV.
Represented by Mr Babatunde Adelekan, Mueller expressed UNFPA’s determination not to leave anyone behind, especially the adolescents, in the fight against HIV.
Mrs Helen Akpan, the National Coordinator, Association of Women Living with HIV, said that nearly eight per cent of the 1.9 million people living with HIV were women.
Akpan, therefore, appealed to stakeholders to support the efforts to prevent new infections among women, and attributed the high prevalence of HIV among women to gender inequality.
She called for stringent measures to address such inequality.
Akpan regretted that COVID-19 had worsened the health condition of her colleagues leading to loss of their lives. (NAN)