The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has disclosed that a total number of 1.9 million Nigerians are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Country Director of CDC, Dr. Mary Boyd who made the disclosure in Abuja, however, said the affected Nigerians have access to free treatments to save their lives and allow them to live healthy productive lives. Speaking at a 2-day CDC Biannual Program Performance Review Meeting and Symposium yesterday in Abuja with the theme: "Working Together to Bring Nigeria Closer to HIV Epidemic Control", Boyd said: "Today 1.9 million people living with HIV have access to free treatments, and it's treatment that is going to save their lives and allow them to live healthy, productive lives. "The other thing that I was reflecting on, is Americans historically love the underdog, and we root for the underdog, we support the underdog in whatever way and we as the US government have been so proud to be part of the success that Nigeria has had.
"And along the way, we've had champions, and those champions are sitting here and also in the audience. So I want to just appreciate you all I want to welcome the CEOs of our implementing partners, I call them the superheroes".
In his remark, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehaire, applauded the USCDC for the milestone achieved in tackling HIV in Nigeria, noting that Nigeria has enjoyed the goodwill and generosity of the United States government through PEPFAR, and has recorded remarkable progress with the reduction of the burden of HIV and contributing remarkably to the 1.9 million Nigerians who are life-saving antiretroviral treatment.
Ehanire who was represented by the National Coordinator of NASCA, Dr. Akudo Ikpeazu said "And of course, these are the key elements of our response to name a few since 2018 which has made us move from a data-poor to a data-rich country as far as HIV is concerned.
"Nigeria has recommitted to work with its partners to drive actions towards the achievement of the 2025 global HIV targets and to keep Nigeria on track to ending AIDS by 2030".
"I take this opportunity to also recognise the partnerships with CDC through which led us to pandemic preparedness and emergency response system and structures have been strengthened in building on the rapid and general support to emergency response to COVID-19".
"I encourage the use of HIV response platforms and investments for continued strengthening of health systems and pandemic preparedness. As you know, in 2020, the government and its major treatment partners PEPFAR and the US government and the Global Fund embarked on a joint alignment to resources in support of the National HIV programme".