Nigeria Says 50,000 HIV-Positive People on Antiretrovirals as Result of Donor Funding
The number of HIV-positive Nigerians who are receiving antiretroviral treatment nationwide has increased fivefold in three years to about 50,000, according to Babatunde Osotimehin, chair of the National Action Committee on AIDS, Reuters reports. A government-sponsored treatment program launched in 2002, which last year was nearly impaired by funding shortfalls, has been enhanced by funding from donors, including the U.S. government, the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and companies in the Nigerian private sector. About 14,000 people are receiving treatment through the government program, 17,000 are receiving treatment with the help of Global Fund money, about 10,000 are receiving treatment through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, and the remainder are being supported by funding from state governments and the private sector, Osotimehin said. He added that Nigeria is on track to meet the goal of providing antiretroviral therapy to 250,000 Nigerians by 2006, although he said the country would need additional funding. However, Pat Matemilola, national coordinator of the Lesotho Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, said, "I don't think the number of people on ARVs is as high as NACA claims," adding, "The number should be around 30,000, even with the Bush initiative." More than 3.5 million HIV-positive people live in Nigeria (Ahemba, Reuters, 8/16).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.