The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has disclosed that over 747,000 HIV positive persons are receiving treatment in over 1050 facilities across Nigeria.
The agency added that this is just half of the percentage of estimated number of persons living with HIV, the agency is targeting to cover.
Dr Emmanuel Agogo, an assistant director at NACA stated this yesterday in Abuja at the 2015 Candle Light Memorial organised by the Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) with the theme, “Supporting the future of people living with HIV.”
He said, “There are more people who we think are eligible out there and we want them to be put on treatment. That is why there are lots of efforts to test people and get people to know their status because it is based on their CD4 count that we offer these treatments.”
With 33 million people living with HIV today, the AIDS Candlelight Memorial which began in 1983 serves as an important intervention for global solidarity, breaking down barriers of stigma and discrimination, and giving hope to new generations.
Agogo disclosed that the Nigerian government has moved on to the most recent guidelines on treating HIV patients where everyone who is eligible based on their CD4 Count from 500 and below should be enrolled on treatment.
“As far as am aware, those issues of availability of drugs and where they can be accessed, has been sorted out because we have over 1050 facilities in Nigeria where if you require ART treatment, it would be provided,” he noted.
Also, the National Coordinator of NEPWHAN, Mr Edward Ogenyi, said the candle light memorial is still relevant because AIDS is still a pressing public health concern and threat to development.
“We have to do this to remember our past heroes, people who in spite of stigma and discrimination in the early days of AIDS still came out to declare their status. They advocated to the government and demanded for treatment and today we remember them,” he said.
He added that apart from remembering the past heroes, there is need to support the future of persons living with HIV/AIDS in terms of providing them with treatment, care and protection.
He said that the vision 90-90-90 targets that 90 per cent of Nigerians know their HIV status by getting tested, placed on treatment and have virus operation, a level at which they cannot transmit the virus again by the year 2020.
Earlier, a member of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Gabriel Undelikwu, said Nigeria has done so well in combating the AIDS epidemic even as there exist rooms for improvement.
He said, “the vision 90-90-90 tell us that we have potentials and guided by scientific evidence to end AIDS, a public health challenge, I can assure you that the global community has been mobilised to meet this target.”