US govt reiterates support to fighting HIV in Abia State
The U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires (CDA), Kathleen FitzGibbon, has said that Abia had the sixth highest HIV prevalence rate in the country with an estimated 58,341 cases.
The CDA, who led a Mission Nigeria interagency team to Abia, said the meeting also marked “the re-engagement of U.S. assistance to the state, through its President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief” adding that the U.S. government will support renewed efforts towards HIV epidemic control in Abia.
“We shall identify and initiate treatment for additional 37,000 People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Abia, within the next two years. “The U.S. is looking to Abia to lead and demonstrate a model of sustainable state ownership of the HIV response.
“The U.S. will work with the state government and other stakeholders to close the HIV treatment gap. “This will help to strengthen the partnership between the U.S and Abia,” FitzGibbon said.
She further spoke about the new U.S approach to supporting the state’s expanded HIV programme, urging stakeholders to play an active role that would help to ensure that all PLHIV are identified and placed on life-saving treatment.
FitzGibbon expressed her delight that “HIV was no longer a death sentence as was the case 20 years ago. She said that no fewer than 1.6 million Nigerians were placed on treatment, adding: “If you start getting treatment, you will not die.”
Dr Aliyu Gambo, Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), called on Aba entrepreneurs to prove their mettle by venturing into the manufacture of HIV vaccines.