HIV: US Treats 1.5m Patients, Saves 24,000 Babies In Nigeria

The United States Government Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Government has said that it delivered a lifesaving treatment to over 1.5m individuals living with HIV in Nigeria.

This, it said, represented 83 per cent of the total estimated 1.8 million living with HIV.

The U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a closing ceremony of a U.S. Government activity on contribution to the HIV response in Nigeria over the last decade.

She said the USAID funded Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS), implemented by FHI 360 had been a leader in a continuum of U.S. government support for HIV control in the country.

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In her welcome address, FHI 360, Acting Country Director, Hadiza Khamofu, noted that SIDHAS has made significant contributions to the national HIV response through improving the integration of HIV/AIDS and TB services into the Nigerian health system and helping deliver higher quality prevention and treatment to HIV-positive people and their families.

Also speaking, the National Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Abdulkadir Ibrahim, said that SIDHAS project had increased the availability and accessibility of HIV prevention, care, support and treatment services in the country.

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Ibrahim said the U.S intervention program has supported HIV testing and counselling for over 4.6million pregnant women, in addition to the provision of antiretroviral medications for over 96,000 women who tested HIV positive.

He said the provision of antiretroviral medications prevented over 24,000 babies that would have been infected with HIV, adding that the initiative also provided life-saving antiretroviral treatment for over 474,000 people in the country.

On his part, the Minister of Health Dr Osagie Ehanaire, represented by the Director of Public Health, Dr M.O. Alex-Okoh attributed the progress recorded in Nigeria’s HIV response in the last 10 years to the significant financial investments into the programme during the period it lasted.

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