By Moses Emorinken, Abuja
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has revealed $2.4 billion is needed to control the spread of HIV epidemic across the country in the next three years.
It said the fund will be used to identify over 90 percent of infected persons and put them on life-saving medications that can reduce their risk of transmitting the virus to others and save their lives.
The agency noted when the HIV epidemic is put under control, an additional N75 billion will be required to place 1.5 million People Living with HIV (PLHIV) on treatment yearly.
The Director-General of NACA, Dr. Gambo Aliyu, made these known in Abuja during presentation of 2020 HIV Quarterly Fact Sheet.
Currently, the prevalence rate of HIV is 1.3 percent, meaning 1.8 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Noting that between 2005 and 2018, a total of $6.2bn was spent to identify and treat 60 percent (1,080,000) of the estimated PLHIV in the country, Aliyu stated that over $5bn (N2.1 Trillion) of the above sum came from international donors – US Govt., PEPFAR program or from Global Funds.
He urged state governments, private organizations and other well-meaning Nigerians to support the Federal Government, as more funds will be needed locally to sustain any achievement made in the long run.
The NACA boss said: “Our fear is not getting to control this epidemic because we are getting the resources and help we need at this moment to control the epidemic.
“However, after we control this epidemic, what happens? This is the problem. Moving forward, as a country, we will be expected to sustain this tempo and maintain these people on treatment.
“Maintaining 1.5 million people living with HIV/AIDS on treatment daily for life attracts N75bn yearly. And that is not something at this moment we can sit down and feel like all is well.
“When we reach that bridge, we will start to look for N75bn. If we do that, we do that at our own risk as a nation. It is now we need to start figuring out where the N75bn is going to come from.
“Eventually, when we are able to control this epidemic and the big donations begin to shrink or disappear this is what we are worried about.
“We cannot leave all the work to the Federal Government. The states must contribute and the private sector which has shown great willingness to contribute must be encouraged to continue to contribute.
“Having all these on the table and making sure that we streamline our funding is the way that will help us eventually when we say we control this epidemic.”
Read the original article on The Nation