HIV treatment

85,000 children living with HIV in Nigeria still do not have access to treatment – WHO

A statement from the United States Embassy in Abuja says, since 2019, Nigeria has nearly doubled the number of children and adolescents receiving lifesaving HIV treatment services and has also increased the percentage of children under nine years old that have achieved HIV viral suppression from 60 to 84 percent.

The United States Centre for Disease Control (US-CDC), Country Director, Dr. Mary Boyd, disclosed this in Abuja at the close-out ceremony of the FASTER project, implemented in collaboration with CDC Comprehensive HIV Service Delivery Implementing Partners, the Government of Nigeria, and other stakeholders in the FCT, Nasarawa, Benue, Lagos, Imo, Enugu, Delta, and Rivers states, to catalyze priority interventions, especially for children and adolescents, towards improved HIV service delivery and health outcomes.

The statement reveals that the US-CDC – supported Faith-Based Action for Scaling Up Testing and Treatment for Epidemic Response project, or FASTER, facilitated significant progress among these populations.

Dr. Boyd said, “In many ways, FASTER came to set the trend, to demonstrate that innovations in Pediatric HIV care and treatment are possible and that it can make a difference in saving lives.”

According to the statement, “FASTER focused on reducing structural barriers to care, expanding innovation, and scaling up what works. NASCP’s, Dr. Akudo Ikpeazu acknowledged the critical contributions of the FASTER initiative, particularly in ensuring that infants received timely early infant diagnosis and treatment by introducing point of care testing utilizing GeneXpert platforms.”

The CDC Country Director noted that the FASTER initiative delivered on its objectives and was instrumental in ensuring innovations in case-finding, such as caregiver-assisted HIV self-testing. Rapid turnaround time for early infant diagnosis, pediatric viral load testing for timely decision making, and accelerated adoption of optimized pediatric regimens. FASTER also impacted the roll-out of Operation Triple Zero (OTZ), an asset-based approach to HIV programming for adolescents and young people (AYP) and was instrumental in strengthening the retention in care of mother-infant pairs.

Dr. Boyd explained that, “While significant progress has been made, we still have work to do. For example, estimates show that about 85,000 children living with HIV in Nigeria still do not have access to treatment. However, we now know those innovations and best practices that do work, and we are well on our way to ensuring equity in the care available for every child living with HIV.”

He expressed gratitude to the 100s of religious leaders who partnered with US-CDC and have become champions for the children’s health in their communities. “Such efforts will remain part of the history of Nigeria’s HIV epidemic control success story,” she added.

“FASTER was funded through a US-CDC Headquarters co-operative agreement in 2019 with the Catholic Relief Services (CRS). In addition to Nigeria, the project was implemented in Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia.

“US-CDC is one of the key implementing agencies of the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The FASTER program exemplifies the ongoing efforts of the U.S. government to assist countries in achieving sustained epidemic control of HIV by supporting equitable health services and solutions, enduring national health systems and capabilities, and lasting collaborations.

Since 2003, the U.S. government, through PEPFAR, has invested more than $85 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response and saved more than 20 million lives, working in 54 countries. In Nigeria, PEPFAR has invested more than $6 billion in the national HIV/AIDS response. Some measures of our success include, nearly 1.8 million, women, and children currently on HIV treatment in Nigeria,” the statement read in part.



Nigeria’s President Muhammad Buhari on Tuesday, launched a N62 billion trust fund to help the country end new HIV/AIDS new infections and also place more people on treatment annually.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, President Buhari says his administration would continue to prioritize health interventions, that Will help to address killer diseases and public health emergencies. 

President Buhari noted that Nigeria’s purposeful partnership with the private sector in the response to COVID 19 pandemic had provided a readily available financing solution to leverage on, to sustain the HIV response.
He commended the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS for their efforts in establishing the HIV Trust Fund, which will to a large extent help to reduce mother – to – child transmission of HIV.


6.2 billion Dollars Spent On HIV Since 2005 – Boss Mustapha

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, (SGF) mister Boss Mustapha says about 6.2 billion dollars has been spent on HIV response in Nigeria since 2005.

The SGF made the announcement on Tuesday in Abuja, during the launch of the HIV Trust Fund of Nigeria (HTFN)Click to Watch!

According to him about 80 per cent of the funds were contributed by external donors mainly by the United states government’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

He also notes that the Private Sector contributed between 0.1 percent to 2 percent of total funds, with the rest of the funds provided by the Nigerian government.

The Government is hoping that the launch of the trust fund, which will be mainly private sector driven, will guarantee additional funding for HIV interventions, especially for the elimination of the Mother-to-Child transmission.

PLHIV in Nigeria

PLHIV in Nigeria: Accelerating COVID-19 vaccination uptake among People Living with HIV

In consideration of PLHIV in Nigeria, there is a pressing need to address the inequalities fueling the twin pandemics of HIV and COVID-19 including stronger support for community-led responses

The emergence of the COVID 19 omicron variant, has continued to rage, with attendant consequences. The situation is posing an even greater strain on progress with ending AIDS, disrupting HIV prevention and treatment services, schooling, violence prevention programmes and more.
Bold action to stop COVID 19, mitigate its impact on the global agenda for ending AIDS while preparing for future pandemics is urgent.

“There is a pressing need to address the inequalities fueling the twin pandemics of HIV and COVID-19 including stronger support for community-led responses, policies driven by science and data, increased investment in the HIV response and, putting HIV at the center of pandemic preparedness and response”, said Caroline Olwande, the Advisor Global Fund/PEPFAR of UNAIDS.

You will find this interesting: Nigeria Launches the National HIV Clinical Mentorship Program

“Partnerships between the Government of Nigeria, Development partners, Civil Society actors including communities of People Living with HIV in Nigeria (PLHIV) are central to success”, she continued.

The Network of PLHIV in Nigeria in partnership and collaboration with the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS, through WHO and UNAIDS, kicked off a sensitization and mobilization exercise for increased COVID-19 vaccinations among PLHIV through its network support groups.;

While receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in Abuja recently, twenty-year-old John Audu who was born with HIV narrated that he advocates for COVID-19 vaccine as well as HIV testing in his school and community. John is currently in the University and aspires to be a medical practitioner in the future solely to help people living with HIV (PLHIV) and to curtail mother to child transmission. John draws daily inspiration from his personal experience to support HIV prevention efforts in Nigeria.

“I want to enlighten people about this virus to help reduce mother to child transmission especially with the discrimination we are going through. People like me have no fault at all but not everyone understands,” he said. Like many PLHIV, John was hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine but was convinced after attending the sensitization sessions organized by NEPWHAN, UNAIDS and WHO.

There have been reports of fear and vaccine hesitancy among PLHIV in Nigeria due to concerns on safety and potential negative effects on their already compromised immune status and interactions with antiretroviral treatment (ART), compromising their treatment outcomes. Through the sensitization sessions that have been cascaded to the state level, initially targeting 15 states of Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Kano, Kaduna, Edo, Gombe, Borno, Sokoto and Bauchi, there has been increased awareness of safety among PLHIV in Nigeria resulting in willingness to take the COVID 19 vaccine.

“There are currently 1.8 million PLHIV in Nigeria, 1.5 million of whom are on life saving antiretroviral ART”

“There was low awareness. A lot of PLHIV in Nigeria were not aware of the importance of the vaccine. Most of them didn’t even know they are supposed to take it. There was a lot of hesitancy before we started these activities” said Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim the National Coordinator of NEPWHAN. “I am glad that we are able to convince most of our members about the COVID-19 vaccination. I can assure you that over 90% of PLHIV in Nigeria have accepted and taken the vaccine. We have only a little left now. This is all made possible with the support of WHO” he added.

There are currently 1.8 million PLHIV in Nigeria, 1.5 million of whom are on life saving antiretroviral ART. Since COVID 19 vaccination began early in 2021, more than 3% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated.

Joshua Badmus a 24-year-old student born with HIV also narrates his ordeal: “I am the first child out of four and the only HIV positive child. My parents got to find out about their status after I was born so they made sure they do not have any other positive child. All my siblings are negative”.

Joshua narrated further that his family were also hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine but were eventually convinced when they were sensitized by the NEPWHAN associates. Joshua now understands the importance of the vaccine and is determined to ensure others living with HIV also benefit. “I want to call on people especially mothers to make sure they get tested whenever they are pregnant to prevent mother to child transmission. This virus we have is completely avoidable. We should also do better in taking the COVID-19 vaccine as we are at a higher risk due to compromised immunity”, he said.

PLHIV can have a greater prevalence of the known risk factors for COVID-19 acquisition and complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, chronic pulmonary disease, obesity, as well as, other comorbidities and co-infections, like tuberculosis. Clinical data suggest that the risk of developing severe or fatal COVID-19 was 30% greater in PLHIV compared to people without HIV infection. All vaccines currently on the market can be used safely among people living with HIV regardless of CD4 count and/or viral load suppression status.

Clinical Mentors

Nigeria Launches the National HIV Clinical Mentorship Program

The Program will deploy National and State Clinical Mentors to support health workers at facility and community levels through several mechanisms

The Honourable Minister of State for Health, Dr. Adeleke Mamora, described establishing the National HIV Clinical Mentorship Program (NCMP) as a significant landmark achievement for the HIV response in Nigeria and to build capacity and support HIV treatment and care service providers in an integrated approach. He made the statement at the formal launch of the U.S. Government supported Program in Abuja on Thursday, December 9, 2021.

The Minister also stated that the Nigeria HIV response had grown significantly in the last five years and that the past two years have perhaps been the most remarkable because of the resilience shown by the Program despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. With over 1.6 million people living with HIV on treatment, the country is firmly on the path to achieve epidemic control.

According to Dr. Mamora, the HIV Mentorship Program is coming at an excellent moment, “a time when the prospect of achieving epidemic control has become a reality and a central part of the discourse.” After epidemic control is achieved, transitioning to a chronic HIV health care model will require PLHIVs to engage with the health care system in an ongoing relationship for the long term.

Earlier, the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard, said achieving and sustaining HIV epidemic control has been the end goal since the U.S.-Nigerian partnership on HIV began and this mentorship program will strengthen government ownership of the HIV program – at both national and state levels – thus safeguarding  sustained long-term epidemic control of HIV. In addition, this program will provide an opportunity for healthcare workers to receive practical training while providing HIV services, using the tried, true and tested methods of continuous quality improvement in line with the current Nigeria HIV national guidelines.

She said that by building local healthcare workers’ clinical and programmatic capacity over time, the U.S. Government supports developing a workforce that can lead, manage, and monitor the HIV/AIDS response from within its healthcare system. “To date, we have supported the recruitment, training, and deployment of 19 national mentors to specific facilities across Nigeria, with another 46 state-level clinical mentors soon to be deployed”.

Ambassador Leonard said the Program aligns with the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) key priority of strengthening the core capabilities of partner governments to autonomously lead, manage and monitor their own HIV response in an effective, equitable, and enduring manner.

The NCMP is  implemented by Nigeria’s Ministry of Health through the National AIDS and STI Control Program (NASCP) with support from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC).  The Program will deploy National and State Clinical Mentors to support health workers at facility and community levels through several mechanisms, including site visits, case discussions, and virtual platforms.

Highlights of the launch included goodwill messages from the Global Fund, UNAIDS, NEPHWAN, and other stakeholders in the HIV response. In addition, the program Logo and the Nigeria HIV Clinical Mentorship Program Guidelines were unveiled.


Fight against HIV and AIDS

WORLD AIDS DAY: FG Says Nigeria is on Track on the Fight Against HIV and AIDS as 1.6 million People are on Treatment

The director general NACA, Gambo Aliu says Nigeria is on fast track on the fight against HIV and AIDS in the country has 1.6 million people are on treatment.

Gambo Aliu revealed this at the World AIDS Day 2021 official flag off ceremony held on Tuesday in Abuja.

He says work done for over 20years got the team where they are today, assuring and advocating for funds he pledge not to let the development partners down.

Furthermore he says the federal government is doing their best in fight to eradicate HIV and AIDS in the country by 2030 and in the next eighteen months it will be revealed to other countries that HIV, AIDS is controlled in Nigeria.

World AIDS Day

World’s AIDS Day: FG Assures Citizens of an AIDS Free Generation

The secretary to the government of the federation of Nigeria, Boss Mustapha who was represented by Adeleke Mamora at the World’s AIDS Day 2021 official flag off ceremony held on Tuesday in Abuja, made a commitment to the citizens of Nigeria an free AIDS generation.

Speaking at the ceremony Adeleke Mamora says over the last two decades, the world has recorded great improvements in HIV prevention, treatment and care due to  strengthened global and regional response to the HIV epidemic. 

 Adeleke notes that this effect has led to a reduction in the number of new infections across the world, although the rate of new infections among young people and babies born to HIV positive women remains a major concern in sub-Saharan Africa, especially  in Nigeria. 

Expressing sympathy Adeleke says no child in the world should be born HIV positive, and the federal government owes the nation this.
He also reaffirm Nigeria’s commitment to achieving the fast-track targets geared towards ending AIDS by 2030 and Nigeria will continue to work with development partners and key stakeholders to strengthen the response to HIV and other infectious diseases. 
The Government of Nigeria is fully committed to Sustainable Development Goals. and other international and Regional initiatives towards eliminating HIV and AIDS in Africa by 2030 he said.

Check: What is World’s AIDS day?

USAID Situation Room Tallen Patterson

HIV: USAID Launches OVC Situation Room in Partnership with Ministry of Women Affairs

The United States’ Agency for International Development, USAID, has in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, launched a new National Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Situation Room at the Ministry.

A statement from the US Embassy reveals that the USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson joined Federal Minister of Women Affairs Pauline Tallen to carry out the launch.

The new Situation Room will harmonize OVC program reporting and optimize the National OVC Management Information System and harness the power of data to help case managers respond effectively and provide appropriate services to help children affected by HIV in their families and communities.

USAID works closely with the Ministry to coordinate OVC interventions within its broader child protection and women’s empowerment mandate not only to mitigate the risks of HIV, but also to support caregivers to strengthen the economic resilience of their households.

Speaking at the launch, Patterson said the new Situation Room is a collaboration that will help Nigeria prevent violence against women, improve resilience of vulnerable children and their caregivers, and respond to the needs of survivors of violence.

“The mandate of the Ministry of Women Affairs — to promote women’s equality and opportunity and protect women and children from abuse and exploitation — also cuts across all USAID programming.

“This new Situation Room is a collaboration that will help Nigeria prevent violence against women, improve resilience of vulnerable children and their caregivers, and respond to the needs of survivors of violence.”

On her part, Tallen noted that OVC Situation Room will no doubt enhance the data generation and management at the national, regional and international levels.

USAID was also presented with an award of recognition for the Agency’s substantial investments in women and children in Nigeria over the past two decades, auspiciously timed to coincide with the annual 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence commemoration around the world.

Receiving the Award, Patterson said, “We are honored by this award,” Patterson said. “Our support to health care as well as livelihood training for caregivers through the Ministry of Women Affairs, will continue to ensure the nutritional, educational and other needs of some of the most vulnerable Nigerians are met. We look forward to further collaboration to protect children and promote women’s equality.”

Implemented by Palladium, Data.FI is among several USAID activities that help Nigeria provide essential social and health services to nearly 500,000 vulnerable children and their caregivers, including 13,000 children living with HIV.

Last year, more than 19,000 beneficiaries received USAID-supported GBV services in 7,500 government and private health service providers that provided counseling on gender inclusion, and gender-based violence prevention and response.

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day: Africa Unlikely to End AIDS as a Public Health Threat by 2030 – WHO

As the World commemorates the 2021 World AIDS Day, the Africa Regional Director of the World Health Organisation, WHO, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti has called on governments to prioritize investment in health funding for community-led, human rights-based, gender transformative responses to boost essential health workforce, and secure equitable access to life-saving medicines and health technologies.

The theme for this year World AIDS day is “End inequalities. End AIDS. End pandemic”.

The Regional Director, revealed in her address that Africa is unlikely to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030, after falling short of the expected 75% reduction in new HIV infections and 81% reduction in AIDS-related deaths in 2020.

She also observed that despite the very high percentages of people living with HIV who know their status, and treatment rates, new HIV infections and AIDS-related deaths are not proportionately decreasing.

“It remains critical for us to reach those who are fuelling the epidemic, addressing the persistent inequities in the provision of quality care and interventions. For instance, in West and Central Africa last year, key populations and their sexual partners accounted for 72% of new adult HIV infections. Yet punitive laws, policies, hostile social and cultural environments, and stigma and discrimination, including in the health sector, prevent them from accessing services.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, young women are twice as likely to be living with HIV than men. For adolescents aged 15 to19 years, three in every five new infections are among girls who don’t have access to comprehensive sexuality education, who face sexual and gender-based violence, and live with harmful gender norms. They also have less access to school than their male peers. The HIV prevalence rate is currently at 1.4% among adults in Nigeria.

With COVID-19, people living with HIV appear to be at elevated risk for virus-related illness and death. Nearly 70% live in the WHO African Region, where only 4.5% of people are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.”

Speaking further, he revealed that as at last year, two out of every three new HIV infections occurred in the African Region, corresponding to almost 2500 new HIV infections every day and sadly, AIDS claimed the lives of 1300 persons every day, in spite of free access to effective treatment.

She however noted that as we commemorate World AIDS day, Africa has made significant progress against HIV in the past decade despite the challenges, as could be seen in the reduction of new infections by 43% and nearly halving AIDS-related deaths; while, 86% of people living with HIV know their status, and 76% are receiving antiretroviral therapy, in the African region.

“Going forward, we cannot afford to lose focus on the urgent need to end the inequities that drive AIDS and other epidemics around the world. It has been 40 years since the first HIV cases were reported. Yet, in Africa and globally, it remains a major public health concern.”

Botswana was particularly commended for being on the home stretch to eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission in what was described as a truly remarkable public health success, as only 16 countries have been certified for eliminating mother-to-child HIV transmission, none of which had as large an epidemic.

“As efforts to tackle COVID-19 continue gathering force, and the world prepares itself against future pandemics, we risk repeating many of the same mistakes that have kept us from ending AIDS. Addressing inequality is critical to ending both AIDS and COVID-19 and preventing future pandemics – potentially saving millions of lives, and safeguarding our society.

As we commemorate World AIDS day, “We must ensure that everyone, everywhere, has equal access to HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and care, including COVID-19 vaccinations and services.”