An NGO, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), has called on world leaders and stakeholders to redouble efforts towards HIV prevention, testing, and treatment to slow the rising new infection rates.
This is contained in a statement signed on Tuesday in Abuja by Mr Steve Aborisade, Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria, ahead of 2022 World AIDS Day (WAD), commemorated annually on Dec.1.
The WAD, which has its theme as “It’s Not Over”, seeks to remind world leaders, global public health institutions and civil society that much work needs to be done to end the AIDS epidemic.
Chief of Global Advocacy and Policy AHF, Terri Ford, said that the world has come too far in the fight against HIV and AIDS to let the decades of progress slip away.
He, however, urged the world leaders to relight the fire in the HIV and AIDS fight by putting an increased focus on test and treat, as well as also addressing late HIV presentation.
Ford said; ‘We were glad to see the resilience of HIV programmmes worldwide during and after the pandemic.
“However, the latest UNAIDS data shows that the global HIV/AIDS response needs reinvigorating, making the theme even more relevant for this year’s World AIDS Day.
“UNAIDS reported 1.5 million new HIV infections in 2021, which were 1 million more than the global target of 500,000 and an estimated 650,000 deaths from AIDS-related illnesses.
AHF Africa Bureau Chief, Dr Penninah Lutung, said that the most recent UNAIDS statistics, shows that more than 38 million people were living with HIV and AIDS worldwide.
He added that more than 40 million people have died from AIDS-related illnesses since the start of the HIV epidemic.
He also said millions of people were accessing lifesaving antiretroviral therapy, while more still desperately needed it.
“ HIV response in parts of Africa has held strong through the adversity brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Also new HIV infections are rising in others, and young women and girls remain disproportionately affected, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa,”Lutung said.
Dr Echey Ijezie, Country Programme Director, AHF Nigeria, said the day also seeks to reinforce the need for stakeholders to work hard and moderate the impact of existing gaps that address inequalities and help end AIDS.
” AHF has planned diverse live and virtual commemorative events in its 45 country teams to pay tribute to all who have lost their lives to AIDS-related illnesses and honor those who continue the fight.
” Advocates will also seek to refocus the world’s attention on HIV and AIDS and the people globally living with or affected by HIV,” Ijezie said.
He said AHF Nigeria, in collaboration with Association of Positive Youth in Nigeria (APYIN) and Positive Access for Treatment Access (PATA), would host a youth dialogue.
Ijezie said the dialogue would bring stakeholders in the HIV/AIDS corridor engage young people on the peculiar challenges they face as young people.
He also said it was an avenue to provide a platform for young people to warehouse and present their issues and engage stakeholders in line with the global theme.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AHF is the largest global AIDS organization, currently providing medical care and services to more than 1.6 million people in 45 countries worldwide, including Nigeria.
Source: News Agency of Nigeria