The Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA) and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) have stated that sustained political will on funding and investment will help in addressing issues around Human Immuno Virus (HIV) prevalence in the country.
They said there were several opportunities and innovative technologies to expanding access to HIV testing as part of plans for the country to meet the 90-90-90 target.
Speaking during a walk to commemorate World AIDS Day in Lagos recently, the Executive Committee Chairman NiBUCAA, Dr. Shaibu Musa, said this year’s commemoration was significant because it represented the 30th edition of the international day set aside to raise awareness and ignite conversations on the scourge and effects of HIV&AIDS in communities and workplaces.
He said: “NiBUCAA is poised to providing HIV&AIDS Testing and Counseling (HCT) services to 10,000 Lagos residents. The acceptance and statistics from the designated centres have been impressive so far.
“Residents, should in the spirit of the commemoration, know their HIV status in line with the 90-90-90 benchmark of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV&AIDS.”
Musa added that collaborative efforts and increased investments in awareness, provision of HCT services and antiretroviral therapy (ART) to infected persons would help to reduce the country’s HIV&AIDS burden.
“The theme of this year’s commemoration, Know Your Status, is a call to action. Although efforts are being made to make antiretroviral therapy (ART) available to affected pregnant women, we are optimistic that improved investments in awareness and getting citizens to know their HIV status would help to reduce the country’s HIV&AIDS burden.
“HCT services should be made accessible to every citizen just as antiretroviral therapy (ART) should be within the reach of infected persons.”
Assistant Director, NACA, Mr. Raheem Mohammed, lauded NiBUCAA for sustaining engagements with the private sector whilst calling for sustained political will to deepen the response to HIV&AIDS.
He said: “NACA appreciates NiBUCAA on several efforts in strengthening engagement with the private sector in Nigeria in order to enhance domestic funding for HIV response.
“The gap in HIV diagnosis is a major limitation for our HIV programme and for the country to achieve the 90-90-90 targets.
“There are several opportunities and innovative technologies to expand access to HIV testing which will require a sustained political will for funding and investment.”