The National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA), has said $2.4billion was needed to identify and treat additional 540,000 Persons Living with HIV (PLHIV), in order to reach the UNAIDS target for epidemic control in the next three years. According to the Agency’s 2020 Quarterly HIV Factsheet presented by the Director -General, Dr Aliyu Gambo, yesterday in Abuja, no fewer than 50 million additional persons in the country were needed to be tested for HIV in order to identify the missing PLHIV. The Factsheet further stated that a total of $6.2billion was spent to identify and treat 60 per cent (1,080,000) of the estimated PLHIV from 2005 to 2018.
However, over $5billion of the above N2.1Trillion came from international donors. According to Gambo, the money would be used to identify over 90 per cent of people that have the disease and put them on life-saving medications that can reduce their risk of transmitting the virus to others and save their lives.
While noting that an additional N75 billion would be required once the HIV epidemic was under control, to place 1.5 million People Living with HIV (PLHIV) on treatment yearly, he said the current prevalence rate of HIV was 1.3 per cent, amounting to 1.8 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. He urged state governments, private organizations and other well-meaning Nigerians to support the Federal Government, as more funds would be needed locally to sustain any achievement made in the long run.
In his words: “HIV epidemic is at the verge of being controlled and because of the importance of this exercise, and because of how difficult it is to control HIV epidemic, we decided to now openly hold ourselves accountable. There are two important roles we hold for ourselves – controlling the epidemic and sustaining it.
“Between 2005 and 2018, a total of $6.2billion was spent to identify and treat 60 per cent (1,080,000) of the estimated PLHIV in the country. Interestingly, over $5billion (N2.1trillion of the above sum comes from international donors – US Govt., PEPFAR program or from Global Funds. “We are happy that we have the support now, but we are not unaware of the fact that once we are able to control this epidemic, the support will no longer exist.
The question is where do we get this money to continue? “Before then, for us to control this epidemic and reach a level where we get to identify over 90 per cent of people that have this disease and put them on medication, we need $2.4billion.
This means in the next two to three years, that we hope to control this epidemic, this is the investment that is required. “Our fear is not getting to control this epidemic because we are getting the resources and help we need at this moment to control the epidemic.
However, after we control this epidemic, what happens? This is the problem. Moving forward, as a country, we will be expected to sustain this tempo and maintain these people on treatment.”