World’s AIDS Day is marked on December 1 annually to honour the many lives lost from the disease as well as the people living with HIV.
The Day is also celebrated to raise awareness about the disease and the need to know one’s status through HIV testing.
The theme for the 2020 World AIDS Day is “Global solidarity, shared responsibility.” Nigeria, however, joins the commemoration with a localised theme “United to End AIDS in the midst of COVID-19.”
Africa’s most populous country has made progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS as highlighted by the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) Conducted in March 2018.
The survey indicates there are 1.9 million people under the age of 64 years living with HIV in Nigeria – a 40 per cent reduction from the country’s official national HIV prevalence estimates for 2017.
But the strides in the country’s HIV intervention, as in many other key health initiatives, are still largely reliant on foreign donors.
Since 2006, about $6 billion has been spent on HIV control efforts in Nigeria. About 80 per cent of these funds have been from donors—mainly the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
With the COVID-19 impact on global economies, donor funding, domestic public financing and private out-of-pocket spending for HIV could all be under threat.
Countries like Nigeria will have to take proactive steps to identify ways to sustain the gains already made, in the face of dwindling donor funding.
In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Gambo Aliyu, and the representative of AIDS HealthCare Foundation (AHF), Steve Aborisade, speak on sustaining the HIV response in the country.