Osogbo- Osun State, through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC), launched its HIV Treatment Surge initiative.
Speaking at the launch event, US CDC Country Director Mary Boyd emphasized that Surge efforts in health facilities and with communities were not business as usual for the state’s HIV program, but rather intensified and innovative approaches and partnerships to increase the number of people living with HIV on antiretroviral treatment. She said, “a lot of hard work will be needed to reach the UNAIDS 95-95-95 goal (having 95% of people living with HIV know their status, 95% of those people on antiretrovirals (ART), and 95% of those on ART reaching viral suppression), but with the support of the Government of Osun, communities, and partners, I have no doubt this Surge will propel the state to ending HIV/AIDS as a public health threat and thereby save many lives.”
Currently, Osun State has almost 30,000 people estimated to be living with HIV, 13,500 of which are yet to be identified and placed on treatment. Through intensified and innovative strategies, the HIV Treatment Surge aims to quickly close this gap and achieve treatment saturation. The Surge also aims to prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies and enhance adolescent and key populations services, thereby ensuring an AIDS-free generation.
Speaking with the Osun State Governor before the event, U.S. Consul General Will Stevens highlighted the need for equitable access to HIV services across the state. “We must ensure we reach the most vulnerable populations, like women, adolescents, and children, with testing and treatment. We must also ensure equitable access to care for key and hard-reach populations.”
The Osun State HIV Treatment Surge is one of many that have taken place in states since 2019. The Surges have identified and placed hundreds of thousands of people on life-saving treatment across the country, a remarkable accomplishment that is even more notable for its obtainment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of March 2023, 1.8 million Nigerians are receiving HIV treatments via PEPFAR as the country moves closer to its goal of reaching HIV epidemic control.