To effectively contain the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in the country, the Senate yesterday urged the Federal Government to ensure adequate funding of the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA).
The upper chamber also appealed to Nigerians not to stigmatise and discriminate against persons living with the virus, as it advised all adults to know their HIV status by subjecting themselves to screening.
The Senate also urged the private Sector to embrace the fight against HIV/AIDS by partnering with government to fund the exercise.Senate reached these resolutions after considering a motion on World Aids Day sponsored by Senator Chukwuka Utazi (PDP, Enugu North).
Coming through orders 42 and 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, Utazi said there were fears in the HIV community that intervention funders may leave Nigeria soon for places where the deadly virus is yet to be contained.He stated that such fears resulted from the outcome of a report of the National HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled in March this year, which showed that prevalence of the virus in Nigeria dropped from 2.8 per cent to 1.4 per cent among adults of between ages 15 to 49 years.
Utazi explained that of the 1.9 million people living with HIV in Nigeria, over one million of them are currently accessing treatment to achieve viral suppression.He added, “With the appreciable control of the epidemic and the increasing expectation of further shrinking, the usual funding from foreign donors will equally shrink leaving Nigeria to battle in funding the management and care of people living with HIV.”
Worried about the sustainability of the fight against HIV infection and control in the country, the lawmaker argued that in a situation where funding partners pull out of the country, private sector involvement in raising the needed fund to support government at the Federal and state levels would become imperative.