Some N75 billion is needed yearly to control the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and treat the 1.5 million patients in Nigeria.
However, over $6.2 billion (N2.1 trillion) has been spent on response in the last 10 years, with about $5 billion of the sum coming from international donors.
Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu, told reporters yesterday in Abuja that the most populous black nation needed $2.4 billion investment in the next two to three years to identify and treat additional 540,000 People Living with HIV with a view to achieving the UNAIDS’ disease containment target.
He said: “HIV is on the verge of being controlled. The life-saving medications used in controlling the virus are working. We want to control the epidemic and put structures in place for sustainability.
“By the time we identify over 90 per cent of people who have HIV and put them on life-saving drugs, we are confident that person-to-person transmission of the virus will drop drastically or be eliminated. We want to control the epidemic and sustain it. To sustainably control HIV, we must make drug available to 1.5 million people. We need to control the epidemic and ensure that transmission has been cut off.”
According to him, 50 million persons must be tested to ascertain their statuses.
Aliyu confirmed that the COVID-19 pandemic had affected HIV services, as “there has been a drop in viral load testing and clinical activities, drop in ART refill rate, while ART initiation has declined from expected 39,450 to 21,495 in April, signifying 45.5 percent drop.”
He feared that the disruption could lead to 900,000 deaths as opposed to the 430,000 figure for Sub-Saharan Africa.