Dr Gambo Aliyu, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), has revealed that an estimated 1.8 million Nigerians are currently living with HIV.
Of this staggering number, approximately 1.63 million individuals are undergoing treatment with Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).
PLATFORM TIMES gathered that a press briefing was held in Abuja on Fridayto mark World AIDS Day which is observed annually on December 1, serves as a global initiative to prevent new infections, enhance HIV awareness, and commemorate those affected by the disease.
The theme for this year, “Communities: Leadership to End AIDS by 2030,” underscores the critical role of community engagement in achieving the ambitious goal of eradicating AIDS as a public health threat within the next decade.
Nigeria, holding the second-largest burden of HIV infection globally, has made notable progress in its fight against the epidemic.
However, Dr Aliyu emphasized that there is still much work to be done.
He highlighted that 58% of those living with HIV in Nigeria are female, with 42% being male.
Additionally, the country contributes to about 30% of the global gap in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Acknowledging the contributions of development partners and global communities, Dr Aliyu expressed the government’s commitment to ending AIDS in Nigeria by 2030.
He praised the resilience, determination, and leadership exhibited by various communities in advancing efforts to improve HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support services.
Dr Aliyu urged for the mobilization of community leaders, encompassing policymakers, service providers, traditional and religious leaders, women, men, young people, vulnerable groups, and civil society, to address systemic inequalities driving the HIV epidemic.
He emphasized the importance of confronting these challenges and ensuring equal access to life-saving services for all individuals.
As Nigeria grapples with the complexities of HIV, the call for community leadership takes center stage, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts to achieve gender-equitable social norms and equality in the uptake of HIV prevention and treatment services, particularly in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
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