HIV: NGOs Task FG on Preventive Mechanism

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HIV: NGOs Task FG on Preventive Mechanism

Aniefiok Christopher

A coalition of Non-governmental organisatons operating in Akwa Ibom State and beyond has called on government to invest on latest prevention mechanism as a panacea to reducing HIV infections in Nigeria.

The organisations made the call recently during a media round table discussion on government and donor commitment to latest prevention options in reduction of HIV infections in Nigeria.

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Welcoming the participants to the event, The Executive Director of Greater Women Initiative for Health and Life, Ms. Josephine Aseme, advised the Nigerian Government to redirect its energy and investments on treatments to the latest prevention options like the Long-Acting Injectable PrEP of which she noted was better as it is cost-effective.

She explained that latest preventive options such as Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and Dapivirine Vaginal Ring, if taken effectively by people at risk, would help in reducing the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 95 percent and 75 percent among people who inject drugs.

Making an overview of HIV prevention in Nigeria and the challenges, the resource person, Mr. Michael Akanji, a Key Population Advisor with Heartland Alliance International, using availble data in the country, explained that HIV prevalence among young people, especially adolesents, is estimated at 3.5 percent.

He noted further that greater percentage of this population are female sex workers, those who indulge in homosexual activities and people who inject drugs.

He listed five prevention pillars of HIV, out of which he said, Nigeria government picked four, including prevention among young persons, key population, provision of condoms and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), but added that much work is yet to be done in these areas.

He urged the government to focus and invest more on HIV prevention mechanism rather than HIV treatment to avoid healthcare providers getting overwhelmed.

The event accorded the participants opportunity to know more about the state of HIV prevention in the country, emerging issues and challenges, while the pen pushers were called upon to educate the public about the latest biomedical prevention options and its benefits.