The United State government has allocated an additional $75 million for HIV control activities in Nigeria, with about $25 million allocated for the Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) surge activities.
Ambassador Stuart Symington who disclosed this during a courtesy visit by the U.S delegation to Rivers state governor Nyesom Wike at Government House, Port-Harcourt, said People Living with HIV (PLHIV) globally require appropriate medical treatment in order to live a normal and healthy life.
To that effect, Symington said the U.S. delegation was in Rivers state to advocate for elimination of user-fees for all people living with HIV, antenatal care charges for pregnant women living with the virus, and other barriers hindering PLHIV from accessing health services.
The Ambassador noted that disbursement of the additional PEPFAR HIV funds are contingent upon Nigerian federal and state governments reducing or eliminating financial barriers to PLHIV access to services, in particular fees charged by healthcare facilities for non-essential services or those already provided by PEPFAR.
“The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is implementing an ART surge program in Rivers state to identify and provide treatment to approximately 180,000 PLHIV who have not previously received such,” he added.
Eyes Of Lagos reports gathered that, He assured that the United States remains committed to supporting Nigeria as it works to reduce and ultimately eliminate the scourge of HIV/AIDS among its people, adding that the increased funding to make anti-retrovirals available would enable more people living with HIV to lead healthy, productive lives until the day a cure for the virus is found.
The Ambassador while commending Governor Wike’s pronouncement to eliminate user fees, said such pronouncement should serve as an example to other states and the federal government.