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The Federal Government has said that Nigeria records 281,000 new infections of HIV/AIDS every year. This announcement was made yesterday in Abuja. However, the Director-General of the Nations Action Committee on AIDS, NACA, Prof. John Idoko expressed satisfaction with the progress made in the fight against the disease.
Idoko disclosed that only 400,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS are receiving drugs out of about 3 million people currently infected, adding that about 1.5 million people are expected to be on anti-retroviral drugs.
Speaking at the zonal consultations on ownership for sustainable HIV response, Idoko said that the irregularity in funding the NACA by donor agencies was because of the global meltdown in the past three years.
“We have seen very significant progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS in Nigeria – more than 25 per cent HIV decline between 2001 and 2009. However, we still have very significant gaps,” he said, “Nigeria has the largest burden of transmission of mother child of HIV in the world – 30 per cent with about 70,000 children born every year with HIV. These children hardly live to see their third birthday without treatment.”
Idoko also said that a lot needed to be accomplished in order to ensure a future free of HIV/AIDS.
“If we are to transform the landscape of AIDS, it must remain high on the national and global agenda. We must move to a response that is long-term and sustainable-one that makes full use of the knowledge and resources developed over the past three decades, yet continues and respond to a changing world that is constantly influencing the future of AIDS.”
The NACA boss urged donor agencies to ensure regular funding of the agency, saying over 80 percent of their finance comes from them.