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AIDS-related deaths decline from 264,463 to 51, 000 – FG

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, yesterday said AIDS-related deaths had declined from an estimated 264,463 persons in 2015 to about…

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, yesterday said AIDS-related deaths had declined from an estimated 264,463 persons in 2015 to about 51,000 as of October this year.

He said this was due to the ongoing efforts by present the administration to improve access to HIV services.

 He spoke in Abuja during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day organised by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).

 Represented by Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, Mbaeri Maurice Nnamdi, the SGF said there had been a significant reduction in new HIV infections from over 103,000 in 2019 to 92,323 in 2021.

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He said access to Anti-Retro Viral drugs and treatment for HIV had increased more than two-fold in the past five years with about 1.8 million persons now on treatment compared to about 800,000 persons on treatment in 2017.

While urging all State Houses of Assembly yet to pass the anti-discrimination bill for HIV to speedily do so, he called on governors to abolish the payment of user fees that limit access of pregnant women to antenatal services. 

Director-General, NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu, said there were only eight years left before the 2030 goal of ending AIDS as a global health threat.

He said economic, social, cultural and legal barriers leading to inequalities must be addressed as a matter of urgency. “Indeed, the end of AIDS can only be achieved if we tackle the inequalities which drive it,” he said.

He said Nigeria had recorded significant growth in key population treatment sites from 10 in 2017 providing treatment to about 16,000 people living with HIV to 118 sites in 2021 with coverage of over 220,000.

The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, said Nigeria  had now reached a stage where 90% of HIV positive persons know their status, 98% of those who know their  status are on HIV treatment and 95% of those on treatment have attained viral suppression.