December 1, 2020 – Every year on December 1 we commemorate World AIDS Day. This year, the U.S. Mission recognizes and honors those we have lost to HIV/AIDS and the resiliency of those who fight for epidemic control in Nigeria.
The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is ‘Resiliency in HIV programming in the Context of COVID-19’. Despite containing the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining our HIV patient cohort, the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) witnessed tremendous growth and achieved a major milestone this year. PEPFAR is now supporting more than one million patients in the Nigeria national HIV treatment program, further closing the gap to reach HIV epidemic control in the country.
While facing unprecedented challenges, through innovations, PEPFAR helped to diagnose and place close to 6,000 HIV-infected Nigerians a week on treatment. All, while maintaining the integrity and quality of services and while keeping the health care providers and PEPFAR staff safe. This not only reduced the spread of HIV within families and communities, but also ensured patients are virally suppressed, making it near impossible to pass on the virus.
Since 2003, the U.S. government, through PEPFAR, has invested more than $85 billion in the global HIV/AIDS response and saved more than 17 million lives, working in 54 countries. It is the largest commitment by any nation to combat a single disease in history.
In Nigeria alone, PEPFAR has invested more than $6 billion in the national HIV/AIDS response.
Some measures of our success include, more than 1 million, women and children currently on HIV treatment. In Financial Year 2020 alone:
- More than 8.2 million people have received HIV counseling and testing services;
- More than 1.2 million pregnant women received HIV testing and counseling toward prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV;
- Approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV received support to improve quality of life, including TB/HIV care services and;
- About 1.3 million orphans and vulnerable children received care and support services
- Equally important, PEPFAR supports Nigeria in the critical areas of policy development, human capacity development, and overarching health systems strengthening, including provision of state-of-the art laboratories and pharmaceutical warehouses, to enhance Nigeria’s health systems to tackle not only HIV/AIDS, but other diseases.
Nigerian health systems were put to the test this year. Our accomplishments would not have been possible without the strong partnership and collaboration with the Government of Nigeria, at the federal, state, and local levels. Thanks to PEPFAR ‘s existing infrastructures for laboratory services, including sample transport and supply chains, the Nigerian government was able to tap into these existing structures to further test and identify COVID-19 patients – proving further that PEPFAR has played a key role in strengthening the overall health systems here in Nigeria.