Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, says Nigerians can now test for HIV in the comfort of their privacy through the self-test kit.
According to statement signed by the NACA spokesperson, Mrs. Toyin Aderibigbe, Aliyu made this known in a welcome address he delivered in Abuja on Tuesday [today] to commemorate the World AIDS Day 2020.
The global theme of the 2020 World AIDS Day is ‘Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility;’ while Nigeria adopted the theme, ‘United to end AIDS in the midst of COVID-19: Get tested.’
Aliyu in his speech said self-testing for HIV is now a reality in Nigeria.
“With my personal demonstration of self-testing at Abaji in Bwari Area Council on Thursday, I encourage all Nigerians to take up the responsibility of knowing their HIV status by going for a test,” he said.
According to NACA boss, Nigeria continues to make great strides in its response to the HIV pandemic with the collaborative efforts of our partners.
“The United States Government, United Nations Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) and, indeed, the UN system, The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria are highly appreciated in this regard,” he said.
Aliyu noted that HIV prevalence in the last 18 years had reduced from a peak of 5.8 percent in 2001 to 1.3 percent in 2018; “Implying that 13 out of 1,000 persons selected randomly in Nigeria are now likely to be positive.”
He said, last year 44,830 Nigerians were estimated to have died of HIV/AIDS-related causes, adding that the Federal Government had spent $6.2bn to identify and treat 70 percent of the estimated 1,080,000 Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV).
“$1.2bn of this was from domestic sources,” Aliyu informed.
He noted that the fight against HIV has not been spared by the recent COVID-19 pandemic which has affected the provision of HIV services across the country, with a six-month interruption in services.
“However, I am happy to note that HIV infrastructure was deployed to support COVID-19 with 25-30 percent of COVID-19 tests conducted in six HIV Mega Labs, HIV sample transfer mechanism replicated for COVID-19 response in four states and over 15,000 HIV community volunteers from HIV stakeholders supported contact tracing, social mobilisation and the fight against stigma and discrimination.
He urged the private sector in the country to foster the ownership of HIV testing and treatment services, based on the lessons from COVID-19 experience.
He commended the Federal Government for its commitment in funding additional 50,000 persons on HIV treatment annually.
In his own speech, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, noted that Nigeria as a country aligns fully with the global solidarity and shared responsibility “which requires us to view global health responses, including the AIDS response, in a new way.
“The funding of additional 50,000 persons on treatment annually by President Muhammadu Buhari is aclear testimony of our commitment to global solidarity and shared responsibility to leave no one behind and no one dies as a result of HIV.
“The approved federal budget for 2020 has adequate provision for HIV to cover this presidential commitment,” Mustapha said.
Continuing, the SGF said, “The appropriation and release of a minimum of 1% of consolidated revenue from the federation account to the Basic Healthcare Provision Fund has provided a strong financial base for sustained funding of primary health care and set the tone for the implementation of State Social Health Insurance Schemes nationwide.
“It is my recommendation that all states fully implement Social Health Insurance Schemes with the integration of HIV prevention and treatment services.”
He also urged the pharmaceutical industry in the country to contribute their quota in the treatment of HIV/AIDS in the country by manufacturing antiretrovirals and HIV test kits locally.
The post Self-testing for HIV now a reality in Nigeria -NACA appeared first on Healthwise.