By Michael Olugbode
The United States Government has invested more than $6 billion on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria since 2003, the US Embassy in Nigeria revealed yesterday.
In the same period, the country (US), working in 54 countries, has also invested more than $85 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response, and saved more than 17 million lives.
This remains the largest commitment by any nation in the world to combat a single disease in history.
A statement issued yesterday by the US Embassy in Nigeria, it said the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has invested more than $6 billion in the national HIV/AIDS response in Nigeria.
According to the statement, “Every year on December 1, we commemorate World AIDS Day. This year, the US Mission recognises and honours those we have lost to HIV/AIDS and the resilience of those who fight for epidemic control in Nigeria.
It stated that the theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is ‘Resiliency in HIV programming in the context of COVID-19’.
The statement added that “despite containing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining our HIV patient cohort, the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) witnessed tremendous growth, and achieved a major milestone this year.”
It said PEPFAR is now supporting more than one million patients in the Nigeria national HIV treatment programme, further closing the gap to reach HIV epidemic control in the country.
The statement added that while facing unprecedented challenges, however, through innovations, PEPFAR helped to diagnose and place close to 6,000 HIV-infected Nigerians a week on treatment.
“Meanwhile, we are still maintaining the integrity and quality of services and keeping the health care providers and PEPFAR staff safe. This did not only reduce the spread of HIV within families and communities, but also ensured patients are virally suppressed, making it near impossible to pass on the virus.
“Some measures of our success include more than 1 million women and children currently on HIV treatment. In the financial year 2020 alone, more than 8.2 million people have received HIV counseling and testing services; more than 1.2 million pregnant women received HIV testing and counseling toward prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Approximately, 1.2 million people living with HIV received support to improve quality of life, including TB/HIV care services, and about 1.3 million orphans and vulnerable children received care and support services,” it stated.