FG To Provide HIV Testing Facilities For 80m Nigerians

Source: thewillnigeria.com

SAN FRANCISCO, July 16, (THEWILL) – The Federal Government is to make available HIV/AIDS testing facilities to about 80 million Nigerians under the President’s Comprehensive Response Plan (PCRP) to enable Nigerians aged 15 and above know their HIV status.

President Goodluck Jonathan, who disclosed this on Tuesday at the AIDS Watch Africa Champions breakfast meeting held in Abuja, listed the aims of the plan to include the enrolment of an additional 600,000 eligible adults and children into Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) and provision of ART for 244,000 HIV-positive pregnant women.

President Jonathan also met with his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, in a closed-door meeting after which they signed a bilateral agreement covering health, terrorism and foreign relations during the breakfast.

Intended to provide access to combination prevention services for 500,000 Most-at-Risk-Populations (MARPS) and four million young persons, the plan also seeks to activate 2,000 new Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) points in addition to 2,000 ART service delivery points across Nigeria.

Explaining that the plan became possible after looking at the previous performance of the country on matters relating to HIV/AIDS, its shortcomings and what needed to be accomplished, President Jonathan said: “What is even more important is our political will to continue to make a difference in the lives of persons living with HIV/AIDS and to prevent the spread of the scourge ."

He added that “The response to the HIV/AIDS scourge must be designed to enhance human dignity and to protect its citizens’ inalienable rights under the rule of law.”

Promising his administration’s commitment to the full implementation of the plan, he said the Abuja +12 conference, which is a Special Follow-Up Summit on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and other -related diseases, was enlightening and informative.

He maintained that despite the proliferation of HIV in Nigeria, significant achievements have been made in reducing the zero-prevalence from 5.8percent in 2001 to 4.1 in 2010, saying though there are still gaps in overall access to HIV/AIDS service.