In an effort to checkmate the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country, the Federal Government has launched the 2016 National Guidelines for HIV Prevention, Treatment and care.
According to the press release sent to Nigerian Pilot by the Director, Media & Public Relations of the ministry, Boade Akinola the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire who formally launched the Guidelines in Abuja Thursday said that the event marked the culmination of an arduous journey that Nigeria embarked upon since 2001, searching for a stable and sustainably system for the delivery of HIV/AIDS services in the country.
Ehanire in the statement said that the President Buhari administration was committed to the African Union position which sought to lead by example, adding that the commitment and the arrival of US President Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, PEPFAR, and Global Fund, led to massive investments in HIV/AIDS control measures and a rapid increase in access to life-saving treatment and care.
Furthermore, the Minister of State for Health expressed his delight that the Guidelines were informed by the basic principles of equality, equity and social justice and they aligned strongly with the universal declarations of human rights as well as promote universal access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care for all persons in Nigeria.
Highlighting some of the Guidelines which include Test and Treat, he explained that it means that everyone who tests positive to HIV is, without exception, immediately eligible for treatment, not omitting pregnant women in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, PMTCT, programme, all persons who are at risk of contracting HIV infection are to be offered antiretroviral drugs as prevention.
The Guidelines stressed that all persons on treatment are entitled to at least one free viral load test annually and that great emphasis shall be placed on differentiated systems of care that are adjustable to the individual needs of the patients.
The minister who commended contributions of partners like PEPFAR and other UN Agencies like UNAIDS, Clinton Health Access Initiative, Civil Society Organisations and frontline health workers for their contributions, urged Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, supporting HIV interventions to close ties with the Federal and State Ministries of Health, as he urged association of People Living with HIV /AIDs to come fully on board.
Executive Director, PLAN Health Advocacy and Development Foundation, Ibadan Mr. Obatunde Oladapo, at the occasion noted that Nigeria should revise the treatment of HIV/AIDS in the country by empowering patients with vital information on treatment and monitoring of treatment of PLWHIV which is imperative to reduction of infection.
He also noted that stigmatisation of people living with HIV was a barrier to access to treatment adding that government should step up its campaign against discrimination of people living with HIV and AIDS.

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