The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) has disclosed that Nigeria is the highest producer of HIV positive children globally.
It noted that while the country has achieved a lot in placing over 1.6 million people living with HIV (PLWHIV) on treatment, more children are left out of the lifesaving HIV treatment services. According to data from the Federal Government, about 150,000 children are HIV positive, while only 88,000 of them are on treatment. This leaves over 62,000 children living with HIV without treatment. The UNAIDS however commended Nigeria’s efforts in placing more people living with HIV on treatment despite COVID-19.
With over 300,000 placed on treatment, Nigeria has placed more PLWHIV on treatment during COVID-19 than any country in the world. Calling for more collaborative efforts to reduce the prevalence of HIV among children, the Country Director of UNAIDS, Dr Erasmus Morah, while speaking during the World AIDS Joint Conference by the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) with the theme: ‘End Inequality, End AIDS through sustainable financing,’ said: “Regardless of COVID-19, Nigeria has become the only country that enlisted more people on treatment during COVID-19, with more than 300,000 placed on treatment.
“More people have been placed on HIV treatment during COVID-19 than any other country in the world. Rather than being a problem, Nigeria has turned COVID-19 into an opportunity.
“The coverage for adult is over 80 per cent, while for children it is less than 50 per cent. Nigeria is the biggest producer globally of HIV positive children. One in seven babies born globally with HIV is a Nigerian.” The Director General of NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu, in his address said: “In Nigeria, over the last few years, we have recorded significant progress in our war against HIV/AIDS. A recalibration of the HIV epidemic showed a significant decline in people living with HIV in Nigeria, of which 90 per cent are aware of their HIV status, 96 per cent are on treatment, and 84 per cent are virally suppressed.