By Mustapha Yauri
A total sum of US$100 million has been set aside by Federal Government’s partners in the fight against HIV/AIDS, to conduct a national survey to rebase the HIV prevalence in Nigeria.
Dr Erasmus Morah, Country Director of the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), made the disclosure in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.
He said that most support for the survey would come from the United States Government and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Morah said available data showed that Nigeria has about 3.2 million people living with HIV, with a prevalence of about 3.2 per cent.
“Some people feel that Nigeria doesn’t have as many as 3.2 million people living with HIV, while others feel that more than 3.2 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria.
“We need to take a closer look at the HIV prevalence in Nigeria. A national survey will tell us the exact prevalence in the country,’’ he said.
Morah said the survey would be conducted in 2018.
He said that UNAIDS was providing support to Nigeria to own and sustain funding the response to the virus.
Morah commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s recent commitment to maintain 60,000 people living with the virus on treatment.
He also commended the efforts of the president to care for additional 50,000 people on treatment each year, using domestic resources, as part of Nigeria’s HIV Fast Track plan.
President Buhari’s groundbreaking commitment to care for additional 50,000 people was made in a statement issued on his behalf by the Director General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Sani Aliyu.
He made the statement during the side-event on the HIV Fast Track at the 72nd UN General Assembly in New York.
“I envision a situation in future where the Nigerian government will be paying for antiretroviral drugs, test kits and other consumables that its citizens rely on to remain alive, healthy and productive,” he said.