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HIV: 40,000 people on antiretroviral drugs in Kaduna – NACA

The Director General of the National Centre for the Control of Aids (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu has disclosed that over 40,000 people are on antiretroviral…

The Director General of the National Centre for the Control of Aids (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu has disclosed that over 40,000 people are on antiretroviral drugs for the control of HIV in Kaduna State.  

Speaking at a one-day multi-stakeholder dialogue organised by the Nigerian Network of Religious Leaders Living with or Personally Affected by HIV/AIDS (NINERELA+) in Kaduna on Tuesday, the DG who was represented by the NACA Zonal Coordinator, Mr. Tobias John, raised the alarm that the donors would stop providing drugs for the vulnerable group in two years.

He said, “Nigeria has achieved epidemic control where the people who have funded this response for over 25 years are telling us that they are going back to their country because the coronavirus killed more of them than Africans and they cannot continue spending taxpayers resources on African and Latin Americans.

“What this means is that in the next two or three years, the donors will leave and we will be left with the burden of providing drugs worth over N2 billion for the over 40, 000 people who are currently on drugs in Kaduna annually.”

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He urged the government and other key stakeholders to begin strategies on a way forward after the donors leave to continue to ensure communities are HIV free.

He stressed the need for religious leaders to understand their roles in shaping society and the people within their communities.

In her remark, the Executive Director, NINERELA+, Amber Erinmwine, said the dialogue represented a significant milestone in the collective efforts to address the challenges posed by HIV stigma and gender-based violence in society.

She said, “HIV stigma and gender-based violence are complex issues with far-reaching consequences, affecting the physical and emotional well-being of survivors and our broader social fabric so, over the course of this dialogue, we aim to explore, dissect, and illuminate the intersections between HIV stigma and gender-based violence.”

NINERELA+ Nigerian Ambassador and Board Chairman, Aisha Usman who has been living with HIV for over 23 years explained that gender and human rights violation is a major driver of HIV.

She called on religious leaders to use their voices to reduce the spread of HIV, stigmatisation and sexual and gender-based violence in communities.

In a goodwill message, the State Coordinator of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dr. Terngu Gwar, said discrimination and gender-based violence were critical development issues that required urgent interventions.

Also in their separate remarks the representatives of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna State and the Association of Muslim Intellectuals of Nigeria, Archbishop Joseph Yari and Alhaji Lawal Juniad, said faith-based leaders must try to update themselves on the developments and challenges in order to proffer solutions.

They however lamented that there was still stigma and hoped the dialogue would review the consciousness that HIV still exists and that there are new developments.

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