NACA: Majority of Nigerians with HIV on treatment

The NACA Director-General, Dr Gambo Aliyu, spoke at the Abuja World AIDS Day event, which had the theme Equalise to End AIDS- Equal Access to Treatment & Prevention Services.

The National AIDS Control Agency (NACA) reported yesterday that 98% of HIV-positive people in the country were receiving treatment, with 95% achieving viral suppression.

It said that as of September, 1,619,133 people were receiving treatment for HIV/AIDS and that despite the availability of free treatment, it was still challenging to locate and initiate treatment for children with HIV/AIDS who were younger than 15 years old.

The NACA Director-General, Dr Gambo Aliyu, spoke at the Abuja World AIDS Day event, which had the theme “Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment & Prevention Services.”

He advocated for increased domestic funding for HIV interventions and called on stakeholders, particularly states, to address inequalities that pose barriers to ending the disease.

“We need to equalise access to essential HIV services, particularly for children, pregnant women, key populations and their partners and those in closed settings often forgotten. To do this, we must address and remove the barriers that negatively impact access to services,” Aliyu stated.

“In Nigeria, we are moving closer and closer to our targets. We are certainly proud of our achievements, working together with our partners. Today, 90 per cent of people who are HIV positive … 98 per cent of these are on HIV treatment, and 95 per cent of those on treatment have attained viral suppression.”

“Our treatment sites have increased from 251 in 2007 to 2,262 in 2020. New HIV infections gradually declined from 103,404 in 2019 to 92,323 in 2021. Significant growth in key population treatment centres, 10 in 2017 with a coverage of 16,147 to 118 in 2021 with coverage of over 221,010.”

Nigeria cannot continue to rely on international donors, so UNAIDS Country Director, Dr Leo Zekeng, and Executive Secretary of the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund Nigeria, Dozie Ezechukwu, have urged the country to increase domestic funding for health interventions and programmes.