‘1.8m Nigerians risk HIV/AIDS death in 2016’

‘1.8m Nigerians risk HIV/AIDS death in 2016’

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An estimated 1.8 million Nigerians stand the risk of dying of HIV/AIDS this year, the House of Representatives Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control warned on Wednesday.

This category of People Living with HIV/AIDS is not on Anti-Retroviral drugs.

Nigeria’s total number of PLWHA is about 3.2million, while the number currently placed on ART is 747,382.
According to the committee, the expected number of PLWHA to be placed on ART based on the “90-90-90,” target is 2.5 million, leaving a national treatment gap of 1.8 million.

The committee said it would cost the Federal Government N57.6bn to place the 1.8 million on PLWHA at the estimated cost of N31, 243 per annum.

The committee said this while making a submission to the House Committee on Appropriation on the funding gap in the operations of the National Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS in the 2016 budget.

The Committee on Appropriation, which is chaired by an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kano State, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, had been collating reports from standing committees on the 2016 budget.

A member of the Committee on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Control, Mr. Afe Olowo’okere, who presented the report on NACA, said the agency was given an allocation of only N1.5bn in this year’s budget to contain the spread of the virus.
Compared to 2015, Olowo’okere stated that the agency received N10bn from the defunct SURE-P to provide HIV/AIDS services in Abia and Taraba states alone.

“Nigeria and the rest of the global AIDS community have adopted the 90-90-90 target by 2030, and to achieve this, the government of Nigeria has to put money into the national response to AIDS.

Otherwise, we will have another wave of HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country,” he told the Committee on Appropriation.

The committee attributed the funding challenge for HIV/AIDS services to the gradual withdrawal of funding support by the US Government and the Global Fund, owing to Nigeria’s decision to criminalise gay marriage.

It recalled that over the years, 95 per cent of funding support for the services had been borne by the two sources, while the Nigerian government provided the balance of the counterpart funding.

The committee explained further, “The US Government and Global Fund are responsible for about 95 per cent of the National HIV/AIDS Treatment Programme.

“Presently, the US Government has scaled down its scale-up of services to only 37 local government areas in Nigeria, leaving a huge gap of supporting scale-up services in the remaining 737 LGAs.”

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