The United States Consul General in Lagos, Mr. John Bray, said on Monday that many Nigerians living with HIV were unaware
of their status due to inadequate counseling centers and HIV tests.
Bray, who made the comment in Lagos at an event to commemorate World AIDS Day, also noted that people living with HIV had little access to antiretroviral treatment.
The theme of World AIDS Day was "Increase impact through transparency" Accountability and Partnerships. & # 39; & # 39;
"According to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS), Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and has one of the highest infection rates in sub-Saharan Africa.
"Many people living with HIV in Nigeria are unaware of their status due to the insufficient amount of recommended HIV counseling and testing centers.
"Low access to antiretroviral treatment remains a problem for people living with H IV in Nigeria," he said.
Represented by Kevin Kraft, interim Public Affairs Officer of the Consulate, Bray said that the United States had been working with Nigeria, through its President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), to save lives throughout the world.
According to him, more than 720,000 Nigerians are currently receiving HIV treatment supported by PEPFAR.
Bray added that approximately four million Nigerians had received HIV counseling and testing services this year.
The consul -general said that HIV prevention messages and activities had reached more than 300,000 people identified as higher risk, while some 50,000 pregnant women had received antiretroviral drugs.
Bray, who said that the USA. UU They were "closer to controlling HIV / the AIDS pandemic more than ever before", adding that what seemed impossible years ago was possible.
Applauded the Nigerian Federal Government's plan to use national funds to provide antiretroviral drugs to an additional 50,000 people living with HIV each year.
Prof. Babatunde Solagberu, Provost of the Faculty of Medicine of the State University of Lagos (LASUCOM), called for more local and international support to eradicate HIV in Nigeria.
"We need more awareness and support in the eradication of HIV / AIDS in our communities."
"We need this support at the local, national, continental and worldwide levels.
"Therefore, we believe that the United States can not wait and say that this is not our problem," he said.
At least 500 Nigerians die of HIV / AIDS every day, with a new average infection of 600 people each day, according to Sani Aliyu, Director General, National Agency for AIDS Control, NACA.
Mr. Aliyu gave the figure during an interview with the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.
He said that although the country has reached great heights with the support of the government and the international community, much help is still needed from individuals to address the issue. challenges posed by the existence of HIV / AIDS in Nigeria.
Mr. Aliyu noted that Nigeria is still the second country most affected by HIV / AIDS, globally behind South Africa.
He appealed to the government and interested parties to ensure further education.