The Federal Government through the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has raised concerns over the high burden of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, standing at a national average of 22 percent, while urging the need for targeted interventions.
Gambo Aliyu, director general, NACA, in his statement to mark World Aids Day (WAD), decried that Nigeria is responsible for about 30 percent of the world’s gap in achieving the global target of eradicating mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
He said specific interventions are needed in states where rates exceed 25 percent.
Despite notable progress, Nigeria still grapples with the second-largest burden of HIV infection worldwide, with an estimated 1.8 million people living with the virus out of which about 1.63 million are already on the lifesaving medication of ART.
Highlighting the gender distribution, the NACA boss noted that approximately 58 percent of those living with HIV in Nigeria are female, while 42 percent are male.
In his remarks, Amobi Ogah, Chairman House Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Control (ATM), assured continued legislative support through measures and interventions aimed at enhancing NACA’s capacity to effectively fulfil its mandate.
“As the world unites on World AIDS Day, we are reaffirming dedication to overcoming the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS, fostering collaboration, and working collectively towards a future free from the impact of this devastating disease,” he said.
Nigeria’s theme for the 2023 World AIDS Day celebrations is ‘Communities: Leadership to End AIDS by 2030.’
Speaking on the theme, Abdulkadir Ibrahim, National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), emphasized the need to place communities and networks at the forefront of the response, harnessing the power of social change to ensure equal access to treatment and prevention services.
He urged government commitment at all levels in Nigeria, especially at the state level, to increase efforts in the fight against HIV.
“For us, members of the communities, we need to be out there in our efforts to tackle the formidable obstacles that stand in the way of providing HIV services to those who need them most,” he said.
The WAD is marked yearly on December 1, and it is a day set aside to support global efforts to prevent new infections, increase HIV awareness and knowledge, support those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS as well as remember those who lost their lives due to the disease.