US treated ‘1.5m HIV patients in Nigeria’ | Dailytrust

US treated ‘1.5m HIV patients in Nigeria’

The United States Government delivered a lifesaving treatment to over 1.5m individuals, more than 83 percent of the total estimated 1.8 million Nigerians living with the HIV.

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

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

FitzGibbon noted that, through the Presidents’ Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the U.S has also supported comprehensive services to over one million vulnerable children and their family members impacted by HIV.

She said PEPFAR is implemented in Nigeria by the USAID, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, leveraging the power of a whole-of-government approach to controlling the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.

“It has been a great source of pride for me to witness the success of the U.S. government’s partnership with Nigeria to get HIV epidemic control within our reach. The U.S. PEPFAR team has worked closely with government stakeholders to urgently reorient the national response to address areas with the highest HIV burden,” she said.

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

Ibrahim said the U.S intervention programme 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 a life-saving antiretroviral treatment for over 474,000 people in the country.

He said that SIDHAS also provided care and support for over 74,000 orphans and vulnerable children.