By Ikenna Osuoha
Abuja, Sept. 17, 2020 The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) has commended the leadership of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and the UN Joint Programme against AIDS (UNAIDS) for initiating roundtable on HIV self-testing in Nigeria.
Naija247news reports that NACA and UNAIDS initiated the HIV self-testing roundtable: “Accelerating HIV Self-Testing in Nigeria” on Sept. 15.
The National Coordinator of the network, Mr Abdulkadir Ibrahim, gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
Ibrahim, who said that the exercise was in line with UNAIDS’s 90-90-90 goals, said it was key to unlocking one of the 90 goals.
He said that self-testing was a roadmap to reducing HIV/AIDS infection in Nigeria using preventive interventions, having known one’s status.
“Knowing your HIV status is very instrumental in fighting the virus because as soon as you know it, the next step is treatment aimed at suppressing the viral load assuming the status is positive.
“I am very happy with the leadership of NACA and UNAIDS for doing this, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Ibrahim said.
The national coordinator advised Nigerians, especially youths to support the exercise by participating in self-testing without fear, aimed at reducing HIV in the country.
NAN reports that the West and Central African Region (WCAR) still registered some of the highest rates of new HIV infections worldwide (16 per cent) in spite of a low prevalence of HIV (1.9 per cent).
In this region, only 48 per cent of people living with HIV were are of their status.
To fill this gap, HIV Self-Testing (HIVST) can potentially be an additional approach to overcoming the barriers to diagnose HIV infected patients.
Therefore, being one of the keys to unlocking the first 90 goals as recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) since 2016.