The Director, HIV and TB (HAT) office, US Agency for International Development (USAID), US Embassy, Abuja, Rachel Goldstein, has said that about two million Nigerians were still leaving with HIV/AIDS.
Speaking at a USAID-funded meeting targets and maintaining Epidemic Control/Key Population Investment Fund (EPIC/KPIF) end of project dissemination meeting, Goldstein said about 1.8 million were on treatment while more efforts should be made to cover the rest of the population that are not treated.
“Two million people are still leaving with HIV AIDS in Nigeria. About 1.8 of the population are on treatment, but the two to three per cent of the population are not on treatment.
“The EPIC-KPIF programme helped in testing and treatment. We have met the need of the key population and there is the need to address the issue of mental health services, gender and human rights. We will ensure multi- sectoral capacity building,” Goldstein said, adding that they will continue to work with the local partners especially in Niger and Bayelsa States.
Also speaking, the acting country director of FHI 360, Nigeria, Dr Hadiza Khamofu, said no one in Nigeria should die as a result of HIV/AIDS.
She said when HIV started, people could not be saved because of lack of awareness, adding that they are saving lives now that the drugs and services are completely free.
“We’ve been around since the beginning of this pandemic. People were dying before but they can’t die of HIV again.
“We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We will have an epidemic centre. We work with the American organization. They help us to save the lives of the people,” she said.
FHI360 is an international non-governmental, non-profit, human development organisation implementing programme in over 60 countries of the world.
FHI360’s expertise is in health, education, nutrition, environment, economic development, civil society, gender equality, youth, research and technology with over 25 years of programming in Nigeria.
In the last 2 years – 2019 to 2022, through the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USAID funded Meeting Targets and Maintaining
Epidemic Control/Key Population Investment Fund (EpiC/KPIF) which was successfully implemented by FHI 360 Nigeria in Bayelsa and Niger States.
“The project’s goal was to deliver efficient, affordable, results-based technical assistance and direct service delivery tailored to context and epidemiology that is effective in surging, scaling, and sustaining HIV services and systems for long-term epidemic control which has been achieved through increased availability of comprehensive prevention, care, and treatment services, including reliable coverage across the continuum of care; enhanced and sustained demand for comprehensive prevention, care and treatment services among KP; strengthened systems for planning, monitoring, evaluating, and assuring the quality of programs for KP and Support the transition of prime funding and implementation to capable local partners to meet the PEPFAR goal of 70% of funding to local partners by 2020,” she added.