Over the past 10 years, Nigeria has received a total of $5 billion, (N2.1 trillion) from donors, including US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programe and the Global Fund for HIV response.
This is even as Nigeria has so far invested over $6.2 billion in HIV response over the same period.
The Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Gambo Aliyu, disclosed this while presenting HIV Quarterly Fact Sheet in Abuja.
He revealed that Nigeria needed an investment of over 2.4 billion dollars to be able to control HIV epidemic in the next two to three years.
“In the last 10 years, over 6.2 billion dollars had been spent on national HIV response and the thing that is pinching is that if you look at it critically, over 5 billion dollars (2.1 trillion naira) of this 6.2 billion dollars comes from external source.
“It is money coming either from the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) programe or from the Global Fund.
“We are happy that we have this support now, but we are not unware of the fact that once we are able to control this epidemic, this support will no longer exist. The question is, where do we get this money to continue.
“But, before then, for us to control this epidemic and reach that level we are saying that we have to identify over 90 per cent of people that have this disease and put them under medication, we need 2.4 billion dollars.
“Which means in the next 2 or 3 years that we ought to control this epidemic, this is the investment that is required,” he said.
While saying that it is expensive to provide medication for people living with HIV, Dr. Aliyu said: “To continue to provide medication for 1.5 million people, you need nothing less than 75 billion naira annually.”
According to him, identifying over 90 per cent of the people who have HIV and putting them on this live-saving drugs, will drastically reduce or eliminate the transmission of the disease from person to person.
“Because of the importance of these, one; controlling the epidemic, making sure that transmission has been cut up and death from HIV has been reduced drastically to the barest minimum. It is one thing to control it and it is another thing to continue to control it.
“For you to continue to control it, you must make drugs available to the 1.5 million people living with virus. By the time we control this epidemic, we will have in our treatment list about 1.5 million people.
“For you to make sure that HIV is thoroughly controlled and you are ending AIDs, you must keep 1.5m people on treatment for life. And this where the difficult thing come.
“This is not easy because to continue to provide medication for 1.5 million people you need nothing less than 75 billion naira annually.
“Our goal is to do two things; control the epidemic and put structures for sustainability.”
The NACA boss, therefore, called for the sustenance of the HIV infrastructure across the country, noting that, they were useful during the early days of COVID-19.