WHAT IS WORLD AIDS DAY?
World AIDS day was first launched in 1988 and is the first ever Global Health Day. This year, 1st December 2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the celebration worldwide. On this day we remember those who have died from AIDs and get an opportunity to show support for those living with the virus as well as their families. This Year’s theme for places its spotlight on Testing: “Know your Status”. HIV testing is the entry point to identification, treatment, care and support for people living with HIV. To reverse HIV transmission in Nigeria, effort is targeted towards suppressing the viral load (amount of HIV virus in the blood) in people living with HIV. This goal is further strengthened with the recently adopted “Test and Start” strategy.
GLOBAL RESPONSE. HOW FAR HAVE WE GONE?
Globally the HIV response has achieved giant steps in the fight against AIDs and today 3 out of 4 persons living with HIV Know their status
In the past, concerted effort from all stakeholders was targeted towards achieving incremental milestones in the fight against AIDS, but in recent times, the aim is to achieve zero new infection by 2030.
In 2017 alone, 940 000 people died from HIV-related causes globally. At the end of 2017, there were about 36.9 million people living with HIV with 1.8 million new infections globally. Africa is the most affected, accounting for over two-thirds of new infections.
Stakeholders around the world in various fields in the diagnosis and treatment of HIV assembled to come up with a new UNAIDS 90-90-90 targets to curb HIV/AIDS transmission.
- By 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status.
- By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy.
- By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
NIGERIA, WHERE ARE WE?
In 2016, Nigeria had 220 000 new HIV infections and 160 000 AIDS-related deaths. There were 3,200,000 people living with HIV among whom 30% were accessing antiretroviral therapy and only approximately 24% had suppressed viral loads. (UNAIDS, 2016). These statistics show the huge gap between where we are now and where we need to be (90/90/90).
Recently. Nigeria has come to realize that to bridge this Gap, testing has to be more targeted and strategic. Thus the Focus has shifted from general testing to testing high-risk populations and focusing on communities with the highest HIV prevalence.
Nigeria hopes to apply a bull’s eye approach to the fight against AIDs with results from the ongoing Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact survey (NAIIS). This survey is the largest population-based HIV/AIDS survey ever. Nigerian government awaits the result which should be out in 2019.
According to the UNAIDs, US$ 21.3 billion was available for the AIDS response in low- and middle-income countries including Nigeria and at the end of 2017. UNAIDS estimates that US$ 26.2 billion will be required for the AIDS response in 2020 Therefore there is a need for local investments in terms of funds and resources to the fight against the epidemic.
For over 15 years, APIN Public Health Initiatives has made her mark in the HIV/AIDs response in Nigeria putting millions on treatment. Currently the Improving Comprehensive AIDS Response Enhanced for Sustainability (iCARES) project for the Prevention, Care and Treatment of HIV/AIDs in Nigeria is geared towards providing Comprehensive services to Key Population and General population across 284 treatment sites, in 8 states (Lagos, Ogun, Osun , Ekiti, Ondo, Plateau and Benue) in Nigeria.
Through this grant, APIN has been able to identify almost 50,000 persons with HIV between 2017 and 2018 with 95% of them enrolled in treatment
APIN deploys innovative strategies in its contribution to the UNAIDs 90/90/90 goal for Nigeria such as reaching out to Key Populations, testing partners and biological children of people living with HIV and reaching underserved population (men and adolescents) with HIV prevention, treatment, care and Support Services
Commemorating World AIDs day 2018
Every year on World AIDs Day APIN public Health initiatives joins the rest of the world to show solidarity for people living with HIV/AIDs. This year, APIN has highlighted a series of events to commemorate the day. These include a Sensitization walk and a Social media campaign.
APIN will adopt the “Know your HIV status” global theme during the sensitization walk scheduled to hold on Thursday 29th November 2018. Take off point will be at APIN’s Head Quarters by 9:00 am. The sensitization and awareness walk will be to strategic places around Jabi District where we will reach artisans and traders with HIV messages. Point areas are Jabi village, Jabi Motor Park and Utako Market. There will also be condom distribution and demonstration on how to use Male and Female condoms.
Furthermore, on all APIN’s social media Platforms, there will be information on current HIV statistics, Messages on HIV Transmission and Prevention, Myths and misconceptions about HIV/AIDs and a Question and answer session forum where the public will get to ask HIV experts in APIN burning issues on HIV/AIDs. This will be from Monday 26th November to Thursday 29th November 2018.
The social media awareness will be capped with the “Rock the Ribbon” Campaign. This will involve creating a buzz on social media to increase HIV/AIDs awareness and show solidarity with people living with HIV/AIDs.