By Haruna Gimba
The Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) has called on all Nigerians to check their health status, stop stigmatization against AIDS/HIV patients and show love to every HIV patient.
In a statement to mark the 2017 World Aids Day, President of the PSN, Pharmacist Ahmad I. Yakasai, said December 1 of every year was designated since 1988, to raise awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection, and mourning those who have died of the disease.
He added that Government and health care providers, non-governmental organizations and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.
According to the statement, as of 2013, AIDS has killed more than 36 million people across the world (1981–2012), and an estimated 35.3 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.
“Despite recent improved access to antiretroviral treatment in many regions of the world, the AIDS epidemic claims an estimated 2 million lives each year, of which about 270,000 are children.
“According to UNAIDS in 2016, Nigeria had 220,000 new HIV infections and 160,000 AIDS related deaths. There were 3,200,000 people living with HIV in 2016, among which 30 per cent were accessing antiretroviral therapy.
“Among pregnant women living with HIV, 32% were accessing treatment or prophylaxis to prevent transmission of HIV to Children. An estimated 37,000 Children were newly infected with HIV due to mother-to child transmission,” the statement read.
This year’s World AIDS Day campaign will focus on the right to health. #myrighttohealth campaign will explore the challenges people around the world face in exercising their right to health.
The #myrighttohealth campaign will provide information about the right to health and what impact it has on people’s lives. It will also aim to increase the visibility around the need to achieve the full realization of the right to health by everyone, everywhere.
Almost all of the Sustainable Development Goals are linked in some way to health, so achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which include ending the AIDS epidemic, will depend heavily on ensuring the right to health.