As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Aids Day, the federal government has reaffirmed its commitment to increased funding for HIV response and ensuring universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, who stated this yesterday, at the World AIDS Day commemoration event at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said, “To this end, government has for the first time ensured that the funds required to keep all those persons living with HIV on our treatment programme in Taraba and Abia States is fully accommodated in the 2019 budget.
He also said that government have committed to support an additional 50,000 persons commencing HIV treatment every year in the budgets, adding that in line with its commitment to support people living with HIV to ‘live life positively’, government will facilitate the integration of vulnerable members of the HIV community into the poverty alleviation and social intervention programmes.
Emphasising the role of HIV testing services towards achieving the 2030 target for AIDS free nation, Osinbajo said, “The role of HIV testing services and supporting people living with HIV to live life positively cannot be over emphasised. The theme; Know your status, clearly speaks to the importance we place on HIV testing.
“We are approaching a new dawn in our national HIV response, as the country gets its HIV members right, as we commit to owing and financing the response, we also need to sustain this momentum and adopt new approaches that ensure services are accessible to everyone.”
In his address, the minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, assured of government effort at removing every barrier to HIV testing, adding that one of the programmes aimed at achieving this, is the HIV self-testing.
According to him, “It is estimated that only 38 per cent of Nigerians know their status, this shows that about 62 per cent is still left for us to attain the first target. As you know, attaining the first target is as key to attaining the second and third. Let me assure you that we will continuously work at removing every barriers to testing. One of these programmes is the HIV self testing.
“Today, we have been able to put on treatment close to 1.1 million people. As we roll out the basic healthcare fund in December, we will ensure that people living with HIV are fully captured.”
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