By Dada Jackson
The New HIV Vaccine and Microbicide Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), a non-governmental organization (NGO), has called for dedicated action by the Nigerian government and HIV stakeholders in the country regarding the development of a vaccine for HIV.
According to Florita Durueke of NHVMAS, “It’s crucial and critical for the Nigerian government for the Nigerian government to be committed to an HIV vaccine development for Nigeria while global efforts at developing an HIV vaccine are focused on ensuring that any vaccine developed can be used universally, we are aware that the HIV vaccine candidate products currently being tested do not address the circulating HIV strain in Nigeria.
“The National Agency for the Control of AIDS is aware of this and has developed a national roadmap for HIV vaccine development in Nigeria. We need to start implementing the developed roadmap. We need to conduct operational and implementation research that would address the potential barriers to HIV vaccine access in Nigeria. We need to start and promote community support for an HIV vaccine to be developed and/or tested in Nigeria.
“We cannot afford delays. Over 3 million people in Nigeria are living with HIV. Every new infection has social and economic consequences for us. An HIV vaccine would reduce the number of new infections drastically. This is why support for HIV vaccine development is critical for Nigeria.”