Nigeria- The AIDS Health Care Foundation, an NGO, has urged stakeholders to put in place policies to enable more People Living With HIV and AIDs (PLWHA) have access to anti-retroviral drugs.
Mrs Oluwakemi Gbadamosi, the Advocacy Manager of the foundation, who made the call on Wednesday in Abuja said that out of the 35 million people living with the epidemic globally, only about 13 million had access to anti-retro viral therapy.
According to her, there is the need to increase the number to reduce AIDS-related deaths.
She said that the viral load of an AIDS patient would be reduced drastically when placed on anti-retroviral therapy consistently and correctly.
Gbadamosi added that the chances of such patient transmitting the virus would also be slim.
``We cannot achieve an AIDS-free generation without addressing issues of treatment, testing, stigma and discrimination.
``In our foundation, we believe that treatment is very important and we have gotten to the stage globally where no one deserves to die of the virus anymore.
``We have drugs that are available globally for AIDS patients to live a healthy and productive life even while living with the virus,” she said.
The advocacy manager reiterated the need for government to intensify efforts to implement its plan in order to achieve success in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Gbadamosi stressed the need for government at all levels as well as stakeholders to work together to contain the disease.
``The government made commitments in 2014, we want to see implementation, we want to see treatment facilities, we want to see more funding for the procurement of anti-retroviral drugs.”
On the activities of the foundation, she said it was fully involved in the fight against HIV and AIDS globally.
According to her, the foundation is focused on treatment, prevention, advocacy and provides free treatment option for 6,000 PLWHA in Nigeria.
She said that the services of the foundation were being fully implemented in four states in Nigeria, including Abuja, Nasarawa and Kogi.
Gbadamosi added that HIV and AIDS treatment was still a priority, stating that treatment coverage was very low.
She noted that the foundation supports five community-based organisations in the four states with commodities and also provides funds in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The manager said the foundation also conducted community outreach on HIV and AIDS, counselling, testing, sensitisation and awareness campaign, as well as community dialogue which helps to address stigma and discrimination.
She said the foundation had been involved in various trainings in behavioural communication and capacity building for health facility workers.
``Treatment is a vital tool in the prevention of HIV and AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.”
She said the foundation had so far tested over 300,000 people for HIV and AIDS in the benefitting states over the last four years as well as distributed more than two million condoms across Nigeria.