More people die of AIDS than Covid-19 during lockdown ~NACA
About 430,000 persons may have lost their lives in Sub-Saharan Africa due to complications arising from AIDS within the six months interruption in treatment caused by COVID-19 lockdown.
The number was more than the 50,000 people that have died through the Coronavirus pandemic since its advent in the continent.
Quoting statistics from United Nations AIDS Control programme (UNAIDS), the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) said the rise in the death toll came against a significant drop in Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) within the period of the COVID-19 lockdown.
NACA said additional investment of $2.4 billion is required to scale up intervention efforts and reach the United Nations’ epidemic control target in the next three years.
The amount, NACA stated would be needed to identify and treat additional 540,000 persons living with HIV by testing 50 million persons to know their status.
While presenting the 2020 quarterly performance factsheet at a press conference in Abuja,
The Director-General of NACA, Gambo Gumel Aliyu, said a total of $6.2 billion was spent to identify and treat 1,080,000 of the estimated persons living with HIV from 2005 to 2018.
Aliyu said over $5 billion of the above sum came from international donors-United States Government, PEPFAR programme, or Global Funds.
“Over 15,000 HIV community volunteers from HIV stakeholders are supporting contact tracing, social mobilisation and the fight against stigma and discrimination,” he said.
The NACA DG stated that currently, the prevalence rate of HIV in Nigeria is 1.3 percent, that is, 1.8 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the country.