The National AIDS Control Agency (NACA) said that despite notable progress in reducing the number of cases and deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) / acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS ) and many others, ending AIDS by 2030 is awash with challenges that threaten to erode successes.
NACA Director General Dr Gambo Gumel Aliyu on the occasion of the first anniversary of NACA Day / 14th anniversary on Monday February 22, 2021 said one of the main challenges is the need for data strategic and in real time for decision making. as well as a cap on financial resources to continue the fight against the virus. “As we look back on our successes over the past 14 years with nostalgia, it is imperative that we recognize that now is the time for all hands to be on deck! ” he said.
The Director General of NACA said the day was an opportunity to reflect on the road traveled so far, take stock, review the state of the response, share the vision to end epidemic by 2030 and to celebrate all communities, partners and stakeholders for the milestones achieved.
Aliyu said the agency has led the national HIV response through notable milestones ranging from a rapid response to a more controlled epidemic. “More people are placed on treatment in Nigeria than ever before, morbidity and mortality rates are declining, making it easier to suppress the high viral load in the population among HIV-positive people on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Nigeria. There is increased ownership of the response as the federal government has continued to deliver on its promise to put 50,000 people on treatment each year, ”he said.
The CEO of NACA said that in 2018, the agency, with the support of its partners, conducted the largest population-based HIV / AIDS survey in the world, leading to a rebasing of the HIV epidemic in the world. Nigeria from 5.8% to 1.4% prevalence. . Aliyu said the survey provided the Agency and its partners with the data needed to pursue the global goal of ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, thus meeting the 95 targets. : 95: 95.
He said that the year 2020 presents new challenges for the HIV response following the COVID-19 pandemic and that the lessons learned from the success of the multisectoral response to HIV, the levers on the community and the infrastructure of HIV and its resources have been instrumental in the resilience of the Nigerian response to COVID-19.
Aliyu said the ongoing pandemic is a grim reminder that despite “our best efforts, we cannot rest on our oars as new public health and development challenges will emerge and we must learn lessons and best practices. of the past 14 years to strategize a people will answer them. We must ensure that we control the HIV epidemic and establish systems and structures that will support all of our achievements in the future. “
According to the Joint United Nations AIDS Program (UNAIDS) World AIDS Day (WAD) report 2020, only six countries saw treatment initiations return to the same levels as in January and February, including including Nigeria, which reported large increases in July, August and September.
The secretary of the government of the Federation (SGF) and president of the Presidential Working Group (PTF) on COVID-19, boss Gida Mustapha, in a goodwill message on the occasion of the inaugural day of NACA, said said: “The inauguration and celebration of the day when this agency was founded is certainly an opportunity to remember historically and collectively how the HIV epidemic has created a terrible burden on millions of people, from families and communities around us and around the world.
“By the time NACA was inaugurated as an agency that day in 2007, the challenges the agency faced were the burden of HIV-related stigma, the lack of knowledge about the disease by most people. health workers, lack of access to treatment, lack of vigorous prevention efforts, lack of effective social awareness and support for the most vulnerable. Thanks to past efforts and the Agency’s current leadership, most of these challenges have been overcome.
“Over the past 14 years, I dare say that this agency has accomplished so much in its mission to the admiration of the government and its partners. In 2018 alone, NACA led the Nigeria HIV / AIDS Indicators and Impact Survey (NAIIS). This was a national household survey that assessed HIV prevalence and related health indicators. The timeline for completion / recorded successes of this survey was rated as best to none. With the onset of COVID-19, the NACA model has worked well to demonstrate resilience and mitigate its impact on the country.
“Thanks to very strategic and supportive federal government policies, millions of people now have access to ARVs and the global goals of prevention, testing and treatment are being met. The current government of President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to make resources available through NACA to maintain this momentum. This includes a commitment to have an additional 50,000 Nigerians placed on treatment each year, a feat no government in this country has achieved. Rest assured that the government will continue to do more, because it has confidence in the diligent commitment, accountability and transparency of the Agency’s management.
The first two AIDS cases in Nigeria were diagnosed in 1985 and reported in 1986 in Lagos, one of which was a 13-year-old sex worker from one of the West African countries.
The first sentinel survey on HIV in 1991 showed a prevalence of 1.8%. Subsequent sentinel surveys gave a prevalence of 3.8% (1993), 4.5% (1996), 5.4% (1999), 5.8% (2001), 5.0% (2003), 4 , 4% (2005), 4.6% (2008), 4.1% (2010) and 1.3% (2019).
NACA, in an editorial, said the National Response Management Day provides a platform for reflection and future projection to end HIV and AIDS as a public health emergency in Nigeria by 2030. He noted: “Under the leadership of eminent figures such as Prof. Ibironke Akinsete, Prof. Babatunde Osotimehin, Prof. John Idoko and Dr Sani Aliyu as chairmen and general managers respectively, the Agency has ensured that that the national response to HIV has reached its last mile, witnessing stability in leadership and cultivating a strong work ethic.
“… Despite these successes, the HIV response in Nigeria still requires the support of all its stakeholders to win the fight against the virus through shared responsibility, stronger partnerships, responsible implementation and shared responsibility for the virus. retaliate. These will facilitate the institutionalization of sustainable structures capable of responding to the end of AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, as well as other development and public health emergencies. This will allow the Federal Government of Nigeria to take more ownership of its response, catalyze other countries to do the same, thus facilitating the achievement of some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “
Meanwhile, UNAIDS has alerted to gaps in antiretroviral treatment coverage among prisoners living with HIV. UNAIDS in a statement said that every day around 11 million people around the world are in lockdown. Injection drug use and sex take place in prisons all over the world. The risk of sexual violence among inmates – and their lack of access to condoms, lubricants, pre-exposure prophylaxis and harm reduction services – increases their chances of contracting HIV, hepatitis C and sexually transmitted infections. .
Among people who inject drugs, recent incarceration is associated with an 81% and 62% increased likelihood of HIV infection and hepatitis C infection, respectively.
Closed settings should, in theory, promote the provision of effective testing and treatment services, although treatment interruptions and concerns about confidentiality and discrimination are problematic.
In 2019, 78 countries reported to UNAIDS that HIV testing was available at all times during detention or imprisonment, and 104 countries reported that antiretroviral therapy was available to all prisoners living with HIV.
The coverage of antiretroviral therapy is good, although gaps remain.