The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said that the country has intensified efforts to eradicate the scourge of HIV/AIDS.
Adewole, who spoke at the start of the North-West zonal dissemination of the National Guidelines of the 2016 HIV/AIDS Prevention Treatment and Care in Kaduna, noted that the government had been consistent in its interventions and fight against the disease since 2001.
He said, “The 2016 guidelines is cutting edge by today’s standard. Its recommendations are audacious, unambiguous and unapologetically pro-patient.
“From this day, everyone who tests positive to HIV is automatically eligible for treatment and this applies to everyone with equal emphasis. From today onward, we are duty-bound to offer antiretroviral drugs as prevention to all persons who are at a risk of contracting HIV infection.”
The minister, who was represented by his Special Adviser, Segilola Araoye, noted that interventions from the Federal Government, Global Fund and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, led to an increase from 25 treatment centres to 1,000 treatment centres across the country.
He added that with the dissemination of the National Guidelines for HIV/AIDS Prevention Treatment and Care across the country, Nigeria was already on the path of total eradication of the deadly disease.
He said, “This event is the culmination of an arduous journey that we embarked on since 2001 in our collective search for a stable and sustainable functional system for the delivery of HIV/AIDS services in Nigeria.
“At the start of our journey HIV/AIDS was out of control. What was a problem of the West had come to our shores and we were paralysed by our confusion and disbelief and did not begin to take any concrete action until 2001, at which time morbidity and mortality had risen to well 60 and 40 per cent, respectively, in many parts of the country.
“Government at that time was committed to the African Union and sought to lead by example. This commitment and the arrival of PEPFAR and Global Fund led to massive investment in HIV/AIDS control activities and rapid increase in access to life-saving treatment and care.”