The United States Charge D ’affairs in Nigeria Mr. David J. Young has said in the 2017 financial year alone an approximately 7.7 million people received HIV counseling and testing services under the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
He made the remarks on Thursday in Abuja at a photo exhibition to launch PEPFAR’s 15th anniversary celebration.
Young explained that measures of progress included the over 779,000 men, women and children currently on HIV treatment under PEPFAR.
According to him, in support of the programme and in partnership, the U.S. Government has provided about $5.1 billion for HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, and care programmes and build the capacity of the Nigerian health system.
Before PEPFAR, Young said, HIV infection was a death sentence in Nigeria and many other African countries.
The envoy pointed out that as one of the first countries to begin a national treatment programme, Nigeria placed about 15,000 men, women and children on anti-retroviral therapy.
He explained that many people wondered whether prevention or treatment could ever succeed in environments where resources, assistance, and care were limited, and where having HIV was considered a death sentence but that working together with the Nigerian government and people, significant progress was been achieved.
Also, he said more than 1.6 million pregnant women received HIV testing and counseling toward prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and more than 1.1 million orphans and vulnerable children received care and support.
The Charge D ’affairs said equally important, PEPFAR supports Nigeria in the critical areas of human capacity development and strengthening health systems.
He also emphasized that the lives touched and the people saved offered a resounding testimony to PEPFAR’s success in Nigeria and our partnership with Nigeria, the government, and its people.
The envoy said worth celebrating, Nigeria has surpassed the 1 million HIV treatment milestones with PEPFAR supporting more than 75 percent of the men, women and children currently on treatment.
In 2003, then U.S. President, George W. Bush led the world into action when he announced the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) – an initial five-year, $15 billion multifaceted approach to combating HIV/AIDS globally.
Young noted that thanks to the partnership with the peoples of many nations, the American people have kept the commitment over the past 15 years, through the administration of former President Barak Obama and now, President Donald Trump.
“At the last count, our global commitment stands at $72.7 billion U.S. dollars, combatting what has been described as the worst human scourge in history,” he said.