22m people with HIV on treatment worldwide
By Muhammad Auwal
The Country Director of thr UN Joint Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS), Dr Erasmus Morah, says about 22 million people living with HIV are receiving treatment worldwide.
He said this at the official launch of “Undetectable =Untransmittable’’ by National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA) in Abuja.
Morah, who expressed the commitment of UNAIDS to reduce the HIV/AIDS scourge in the country and the world over,
He commended communities’ efforts in achieving viral suppression, saying it was imperative to give care to vulnerable, marginalised and those that inject themselves with drugs to truly achieve the U=U.
The UNAIDS boss saluted the heroes of HIV, who he described as “persons living with HIV but courageous” and enjoined them to continue to help in achieving viral suppression.
According to him, there is need to celebrate such courageous persons living with the virus and ready to help others to overcome stigma, stressing that there was need to also involve them in policy making and also try as much as possible to invest in them.
The country director, who described treatment as a right, said that community monitoring and data were also important in achieving viral suppression.
President of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Mr Abdulkadiri Ibrahim described the U=U campaign as a demonstration that treatment was working.
Mr Ibrahim said that transmission of the virus was not possible with those that had achieved viral suppression.
He identified sexual transmission as the commonest way of transmitting HIV, saying that it would not be possible to transmit HIV when one had achieved viral suppression.
The NEPWHAN boss called for more testing centres, which he said was needful in treatment and subsequent viral suppression.
He added that “once detected and the person adheres to medical prescription, he or she will achieve viral suppression after three months.”
Earlier, Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) emphasised the importance of testing and treatment, which he said were imperative for achieving viral suppression.
Mustapha, who was represented Mr Olusegun Adekunle, the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to Government to the Federation; said treatment was a roadmap to reducing stigma and transmission.
He described the 2018 National AIDS and Indicator Survey (NAISS) as Nigeria’s determination in practical terms to end HIV epidemic.