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1.6 million Nigerians undergoing HIV treatment, says NACA

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The National Agency for the Control of AIDS says 1,619,133 of the 1.9 million Nigerians living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus are now on treatment.

The NACA Director-General, Dr Gambo Aliyu, made this known at a press briefing on Thursday in Abuja in commemoration of the World AIDS Day, themed, ‘Equalise to End AIDS: Equal Access to Treatment and Prevention Services.’

Aliyu said this year’s WAD seeks to promote equal access across among the vulnerable and affected population groups by removing economic, social, cultural, and legal barriers to HIV prevention services.

HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s immune system, and if left untreated, can lead to Acquired Immunodeficiency Deficiency Syndrome.

The WAD is observed annually on December 1 to raise awareness, remember those who died and celebrate increased access to treatment and prevention services.

Aliyu said, “Nigeria’s success story is evident from the significant dip in the HIV prevalence from 3.4 per cent in 2017 to a population-based prevalence of 1.3 per cent in 2018.

“As of the end of September 2022, we have 1,619,133 persons on treatment, which represents a significant leap when compared to 838,020 persons in 2017. Our treatment sites have increased from 251 in 2007 to 2,262 in 2020.

“New HIV infections gradually declined from 103,404 in 2019 to 92,323 in 2021. There has also been significant growth in key population treatment centres from 10 sites in 2017 with coverage of 16,147 to 118 in 2021 with coverage of over 221,010 individuals.”

He added that the pre-COVID-19 molecular laboratory testing sites were 27 but they had increased to over 100.

According to the Country Director of UNAIDS, Dr Leo Zekeng, globally, new HIV infections have declined by about 32 per cent and AIDS-related mortality have decreased by about 52 per cent because people are being tested, put on treatment, and can live a normal life.

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