Nigerians who are on HIV/AIDS medication need not entertain any fear about sustainability of their medicaments as Uncle Sam is not about to withdraw its support to the programme as widely feared.
In fact, the United States government has just boosted their HIV/AIDS funding support for the country with an additional $500 million for HIV/AIDS programmes in Nigeria.
There were fears in Nigeria that the US government might suspend the aid for HIV/AIDS to the country on the assumption that Nigeria is capable of financing its fight against the scourge.
Charge d’Affaires at the Nigerian US Embassy, Abuja, Maria Brewer, announced Friday that this is part of US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) intervention in Nigeria’s fight against the HIV/AIDS disease.
Brewer, who spoke to journalists in Abuja, said that the American government had commitment more than $3.5 billion (about 580 billion naira) to the Nigeria HIV/AIDS response since the inception of the PEPFAR Nigeria programme in 2004.”
She said the US had no plan to withdraw assistance to Nigeria on the PEPFAR support fund.
Brewer maintained that new HIVAIDS infections had reduced by a half globally.
Meanwhile, Brewer condemned in strong terms the level of sensitisation on the infection in the country, stating that many Nigerian youths could not answer five HIV/AIDS-related questions correctly because education on the virus was inadequate.
“On World AIDS Day 2014, nearly 35 years into the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, it is important to reflect on how far we have come together. Not so long ago, hospital beds were filled with dying patients. Thankfully, due to our strong partnerships and collective efforts, new HIV infections have dropped by half worldwide since the peak of the epidemic, and life expectancy has rebounded dramatically. Despite tremendous progress made, the HIV epidemic is not yet controlled.
“An AIDS-free generation is within our reach, but together, we must deliver the right thing in the right place at the right time.
“The right thing means focussing on the highest impact intervention. When we focus on these interventions and bring them to scale, we see tremendous results. When we fail to focus or to reach enough people, progress is slow or stalls. The right place means focusing our resources in key geographic areas, including at state and local government authority levels, and reaching the most vulnerable populations.
“The right time suggests getting ahead of any ultimately controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Continually, fighting an expanding epidemic is not logistically or financially sustainable.
“Success for the PEPFAR Nigeria program will be determined by how effectively we focus and tailor our efforts, together with our partners, to control the epidemic. With the generous support of the American people, the US government has commitment more than $3.5 billion (About N580 billion) to the Nigeria HIV/AIDS response since the inception of the PEPFAR Nigeria programme in 2004.
“The United States is not withdrawing funding from its AIDS-related programs. The US contribution to Nigeria’s National HIV Response has maintained a level of close to half a billion US dollars a year from 2012 to 2015, with an expectation to continue at the same level through 2016”, she said..
“From time to time, we review our strategy in Nigeria to focus on the highest impact interventions in key geographic areas, but we have not reduced funding for HIV/AIDS activities in Nigeria.
“World AIDS Day is a day to commemorate the millions of lives lost and families affected by HIV/AIDS. It also allows us to recognize the courageous individuals living with HIV who bear the burden of this disease every day.
“At this time, I would like us to reflect on the meaning of an AIDS-free generation to our people. Young people represent 40 percent of all new HIV infections, meaning 890,000 young people are infected every year, or nearly 2,500 every day, according to the latest data from UNAIDS,” she stressed.
leon Hill at Nigeria Institute of International Affairs, (NIIA) Victoria Island, Lagos recently