The Federal Government on Wednesday pledged its support in all areas of HIV response for Network of People Living with HIV and AIDs in Nigeria.
Dr Sani Aliyu, the Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, pledged the support for the group during a handover ceremony of the new management board in Abuja.
Aliyu said that the ongoing HIV survey result that would be announced by President Muhammadu Buhari in March would be an opportunity to access efforts in curbing HIV and a roadmap in forging ahead.
He urged the incoming team to stay focused and work hard by putting transparency and accountability forward.
Abdulkadir Ibrahim, the National Coordinator, NEPWHAN, called for partners’ contributions to effectively change the current HIV response situation on ground.
Ibrahim said that the first priority agenda for the new management board was to develop a 4-year strategic plan that would guide its operations in line with its partners’ agenda.
He noted that part of the plan to include building capacity of its state and zonal networks and to strengthen collaboration by employing multi-sectoral approach with public private partnership to empower women and youths.
The coordinator said that this would be done through promotion of economic and livelihood activities and education especially for young women and vulnerable children.
He added that the approach would enhance easy access to life saving anti-retroviral drugs.
Victor Omoshehin, former National Coordinator, NEPWHAN, said that despite all the progress made, HIV remains the number one cause of death amongst adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Omoshehin said that infection rate was still rising in Nigeria despite availability of instant testing and access to treatment.
He added: “It is time to ensure that no young person feels ashamed of asking for HIV test or treatment. Time has come when boys and girls infected with HIV play with their friends, classmates, neighbours and were not denied admission into any school of their choice.
“Stigma and discrimination is still a major barrier and needed to be eradicated as soon as possible to help win the fight against the disease.”