Network Of Persons Living With HIV Call For Revised Treatment To Reduce Infection
Executive Director, PLAN Health Advocacy and Development Foundation, Ibadan , Mr. Obatunde Oladapo has stressed the need for Nigeria to revise the treatment for People living with HIV stressing that empowering patients with vital information on treatment and monitoring of treatment of PLWHIV are imperative to reduction of infection.
Mr Obatunde stated this in Abuja at the Central Dissemination Of The 2016 National Guidelines For HIV Prevention,Treatment And Care observed that stigmatisation of people living with HIV was a barrier to access to treatment and that government should step up its campaign against discrimination of people living with HIV and AIDS.
He said the event marked the culmination of an arduous journey that Nigeria embarked upon since 2001, searching for a stable and sustainable system for the delivery of HIV/AIDS services in the country.
On his part Chairman Nigerian National PMTCT Task Team; University of Jos Clinical Researcher/Investigator; Clinician (Obstetrician and Gynecologist), Professor Atiene Sagay said the coverage for the dissemination of guidelines for the prevention, treatment and cure which used to be a problem in the past has risen from 13% to 30%”, adding that this is a plus on health sector.
Determined to stem the tides of HIV /AIDS in Nigeria, the Federal Government of Nigeria has launched the 2016 National Guidelines for HIV Prevention, Treatment and care.
While addressing the gathering,the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire said that the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari was committed to the African Union position which sought to lead by example, that the commitment and the arrival of US President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and Global Fund, led to massive investments in HIV/AIDS control measures and a rapid increase in access to life-saving treatment and care.
He expressed delight that the Guidelines were informed by the basic principles of equality, equity and social justice and they aligned strongly with the universal declarations of human rights as well as promote universal access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care for all persons in Nigeria.
Dr.Ehanire enumerated some of the highlights of the Guidelines to include: Test and Treat, meaning that everyone who tests positive to HIV is, without exception, immediately eligible for treatment, not omitting pregnant women in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme, all persons who are at risk of contracting HIV infection are to be offered antiretroviral drugs as prevention.
The Guidelines also stated that all persons on treatment are entitled to at least one free viral load test annually and that great emphasis shall be placed on differentiated systems of care that are adjustable to the individual needs of the patients.
While commending the contributions of partners like PEPFAR and other UN Agencies like UNAIDS, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Civil Society Organisations and frontline health workers for their contributions, he urged Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) supporting HIV interventions to close ties with the Federal and State Ministries of Health, and also called on the body of People Living with HIV /AIDs to come fully on board.
Dr. Osagie Ehanire assured People Living with HIV/ AIDS (PLWHA) and all who test positive to HIV of getting automatic treatment in any Primary Care Health centers irrespective of their age, gender or condition (pregnancy).
“From this today onward, we are duty bound to offer antiretroviral drugs as prevention to all persons who are at a high risk of contracting HIV infection”. “From today forward all persons on treatment are entitled to at least, one viral load test per year”.Dr. Ehanire said,
Going through the history of HIV/AIDS scourge in Nigeria, the Minister of Health for State revealed that up till 2001 after the virus was discovered in 1996, the morbidity and mortality rate was about 60 and 40 percent respectively in many parts of the country.