Red Ribbon: Nigeria Constitutes 10% of HIV Global Burden

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Ayodeji Ake

The Red Ribbon Coalition has revealed that Nigeria constitutes about 10 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world; meaning one in every 10 HIV positive persons globally is most likely a Nigerian.

It said about 3.4 million Nigerians are living with the virus, with a predominant age range of 15 to 29 years.
Stating this at a dinner organised by the coalition, HIV cascade of care specialists, Society for Family Health (SFH), Mr. Emmanuel Olaoti, said they were concerned about people getting up-to-date information about HIV/AIDS because Nigeria is the second largest burden in the world as far as HIV/AIDS is concern.

While explaining that about 30,000 Nigerians across 11 states have been screened, the National Conveyer, Red Ribbon Coalition, Mr. Emeka Mba said most of those screened were majorly sex workers, students and people living in the rural communities.

“The Red Ribbon alliance started in 2015 and Coca-Cola has been a strong backup for us, and the focus is beyond raising awareness on HIV/AIDS. We have also flagged up a campaign on anti-stigmatisation which is being taken to the grassroots,” he said.

Speaking on how HIV/AIDS victims could get quality and affordable treatment, the Executive Director, Good Health Educators initiative (GHEI), Mr. Ibrahim Umoru harped on Public Private Partnership (PPP) and advocated for incorporation of HIV/AIDS treatment in the health insurance scheme.

“The truth must be said that, as far as HIV/AIDS is concerned, there is a need for PPP to boost the campaign awareness. Nigeria is constituting 10 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS in the world and it’s a big shame that our government is only accountable for five per cent of that figure. Another way to reduce the burden of HIV/AIDS is by incorporating treatment into the health insurance scheme so that victims will get access to quality and affordable treatment,” he said.

Commending the coalition for its engagement in creating awareness on HIV/ AIDS, Public Affairs and Communication Manager Coca-Cola, Mrs. Nwamaka Onyemelukwe also pledged support for partnership in creating more awareness.

“It’s a passionate event, we appreciate all our stakeholders for making the coalition and their activities a great success. We are focused on moving into 2018, with full force of creating more awareness and creating impact in the life of the victims,” she said.