The Acting Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate General Lagos, Kevin Krapf, has stated that the US government has transformed global HIV/AIDS response through the PEPFAR, adding that the move is aimed at improving millions of lives.
Krapf who disclosed this in Lagos at the 2017 World AIDS Day Programme with the theme, â€˜Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability and Partnershipsâ€™, said currently more than 720,000 Nigerians are on PEPFAR-supported HIV treatment.
He also stated that approximately four million Nigerians have received HIV counseling and testing services in 2017, adding that theme reflects the U.S. governmentâ€™s longstanding leadership in addressing global HIV/AIDS, â€œincreasing our impact to move epidemics from crisis toward control.â€
Krapf further noted that HIV prevention messages and activities have reached over 300,000 people identified as most-at-risk, and approximately 50,000 pregnant women have received antiretroviral drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The U.S. Consulate Acting Public Affairs Officer explained that according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and has one of the highest new infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
He added: â€œMany people living with HIV in Nigeria are unaware of their status due to insufficient recommended number of HIV testing and counseling centres. Low access of antiretroviral treatment remains an issue for people living with HIV in Nigeria and I welcome the new commitment of the federal government to use domestic funds to provide antiretroviral drugs to an additional 50,000 people living with HIV each year.
â€œThrough this event, the United States Mission in Nigeria brought together relevant HIV/AIDS stakeholders in Nigeria to share innovative strategies, successes attained, lessons learned, and challenges confronting fight against HIV/AIDS epidemics during the past five-year funding cycle. We are at an unprecedented moment in the global HIV/AIDS response.
â€œFor the first time in modern history, we have the opportunity to change the very cause of a pandemic by controlling it without a vaccine or a cure. Controlling the pandemic will lay the groundwork for eliminating or eradicating HIV, which we hope will be possible through the future scientific breakthroughs which lead to an effective HIV vaccine and cure