Nigeria has dedicated years to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, making substantial progress in bolstering the essential aspects necessary to reach its goal of eradicating AIDS as a public health concern by 2030. A recent report revealed that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is now at an endemic phase in the nation, indicating a progressive strides. Adebobola Bashorun, the national coordinator of the National HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and STI Control Programme at the Ministry of Health who disclosed this, said the positive development can be ascribed to effectively curbing the spread of the disease and successfully addressing the discrimination faced by individuals with positive test results.
Speaking during a recent press briefing held in Abuja to announce the three-days of National Training of much needed Trainers on WHO-approved Standard Q HIV 1 & 2 Rapid Test Kit in Nigeria, Bashorun attributed the reduction in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country to the increased accessibility of medications for its treatment. He clarified that disease outcomes or occurrences can be categorized into three levels: firstly, Endemic, which refers to diseases prevalent within our localities; secondly, Epidemic, signifying when the rate of disease surpasses anticipated levels for a given time frame; and finally, Pandemic, indicating a worldwide spread of the disease.
Citizens urged to undergo routine test to ascertain their status.
Epidemic phase does not mean an absence of the disease; rather, it signifies an organized and effective system that maintains disease management and sustains the progress achieved over the course of time. To exemplify this notion, we can reflect upon the initial stages of the HIV outbreak, when it was confined to a few locations as an epidemic. Subsequently, it evolved into a pandemic, spreading on a global scale. Nigeria is currently at the endemic phase mainly due to the nation’s effective containment efforts and de stigmatization campaigns, further reinforced by the accessibility of treatments facilitating its management.
He urged the citizens to undergo routine test in order to ascertain their HIV/AIDS status, noting that there is effective treatments to manage the diseases. Commenting on the training program, Bashorun said it would facilitate appropriate utilization of the product and also oversee its performance and operational efficiency in real-life scenarios. He mentioned that after the Training of Trainers, more than 900 testers would receive extensive training across all 774 LGAs in Nigeria. This comprehensive regional training, spanning across the six geopolitical zones of the country, commenced on November 23, 2023, in Abuja.
Substantial strides is required to eradicate the diseases.
The government’s efforts in combating the disease have shown impressive advancements, leading to improvements in prevention, detection, and treatment. Nonetheless, substantial strides are required to bring Nigeria closer to eradicating HIV/AIDS by the decade’s end. It is important to note that the Nigerian government has not allocated a considerable portion of its budget towards addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis. International organizations and donors are the main contributors when it comes to funding programs that focus on prevention, care, and treatment.
As part of its ongoing effort, Nigeria has recently devised the National HIV and AIDS Strategic Framework (2021-2025), marking the fifth formation, as a means to steer the country’s endeavour in addressing the diseases. This Framework draws upon the successes accomplished in previous iterations and aims to provide comprehensive guidance for the national response to this crucial issue. The framework aims to constantly enhance and readjust its evidence-based approach, propelled by a deeper comprehension of the epidemic within the country and the recent worldwide advancements in addressing AIDS.
Healthcare initiatives have enhanced well-being of the infected.
Significant strides made in Nigeria to combat the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, resulted in a notable decline in the number of Nigerians afflicted by the disease. More so, healthcare initiatives have enhanced the overall outlook and well-being of infected individuals. However, there remain further endeavours to be implemented in order to achieve Nigeria’s ambitious objective of eradicating the disease. Lack of government adequate funding for the initiative underscored the high significance of foreign aid in supporting such endeavours. This indicates that there is a greater potential within the international community to guarantee a future for Nigeria that is void of the disease.