The Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare on Wednesday in Abuja said the country was working towards achieving epidemic control for HIV through a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach.
The Deputy Director/Head of Treatment Care and Support Program, National HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and STIs Control Programme , in the ministry, Dr Peter Nwaokenneya, stated this at a round table with newsmen.
HIV epidemic control is reached when the total number of new HIV infections falls below the total number of deaths from all causes among people living with HIV.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the roundtable is themed “Now is the Time: Fighting Pediatric HIV Through Strategic Partnership”.
The roundtable was organised by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in collaboration with NASCP, FMOH.
Nwaokenneya said that the country had already made significant strides in its battle against the HIV pandemic.
He said that significant efforts had been made to curb the spread of the virus, ensure access to treatment and care, and reduce the impact of HIV on the population.
According to him, this has led to improved awareness, increased access to antiretroviral therapy, and a decline in HIV prevalence.
However, he said that challenges still persisted and there was a need for more work to be done to ensure comprehensive healthcare and eliminate stigma.
Prof. Rosemary Ugwu – Consultant Pediatrician, University of Port Harcourt, said that the involvement of young people in decision-making processes and the media’s role in promoting inclusion and creating supportive communities were crucial in the fight against pediatric HIV.
Ugwu said that efforts to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, early detection, and access to antiretroviral therapy were also key in reducing the transmission of HIV to children.
The root of eliminating HIV in Nigeria is stigma” said Mr Aaron Sunday, National Coordinator of Positive Youths in Nigeria, while underscoring major avenues to fight Pediatric HIV.
Sunday said that to identify HIV cases among adolescents and adequately administer treatment to them, a human-centred design should be adopted through empowerment, empathy, partnership and trust, among others in the country.
He stated that APYIN as well as other partnering organisations were working towards eliminating the killer disease in 2030.
Dr Nguavese Torbunde – Country Manager, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation , said that the goal was to eliminate new pediatric HIV infections and improve access to treatment, contributing to the overall goal of ending AIDS in children.
Torbunde said that strengthening healthcare infrastructure, increasing awareness, and fostering collaboration between governments, NGOs, and pharmaceutical companies were essential in closing the gap in pediatric HIV/AIDS care.
NAN recalled that the event provided insights into how journalists can enhance their reportage of pediatric HIV and address the journey and progress toward an AIDS-free generation.