The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has reported that Nigeria purportedly has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and has one of the highest new infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
This come after report claim 720,000 Nigerians are on United States PEPFAR-supported HIV treatment with approximately four million Nigerians having received HIV counselling and testing services in 2017 alone.
The acting Public Affairs Officer of the United States Consulate, Kevin Krapf, made this disclosure during the commemoration of the 2017 World AIDS day held in Lagos.
The commemoration was organised by the consulate in collaboration with the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) led by the Provost, Professor Babatunde Solagberu.
With the programmed theme: ‘Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability and Partnerships’, Krapf said it reflects the US government longstanding leadership in addressing global HIV/AIDS, increasing our impact to move epidemics from crisis toward control.
He emphasised the role of everyone in making sure that the epidemic is reduced while adding that “many people living with HIV in Nigeria are unaware of their status due to insufficient recommended number of HIV testing and counselling centres.
He also recognised that “the US government, through PEPFAR, has helped not only to save and improve millions of lives, but also transformed the global HIV/AIDS response.
“Also, approximately 50,000 pregnant women have received antiretroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV,” Krapf added.
Krapr revealed that through partnership of governments, the private sector, philanthropic organisations, multilateral institutions, academic institutions, civil society and faith-based organisations, PEPFAR expects to reduce the future costs required to sustain the HIV/AIDS response.
While thanking the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency for conducting a state-wide aggressive campaign, counselling and HIV/AIDS testing through its mobile clinic initiative, Krapf said theirdetermination to ensure a zero prevalence of HIV in the state aligns with the strategic plan of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
He also commended the Society for Family Health for providing quality health services to Nigerians, particularly the poor and vulnerable.