The United States Government has said it will work with Abia State Government and other stakeholders to close the HIV treatment gap by identifying and initiating treatment for an additional 37,000 people living with HIV (PLHIV) in Abia State within the next two years.
U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires (CDA), Kathleen FitzGibbon stated this at the Michael Okpara Auditorium, Umuahia, Abia State during an interagency meeting to mark the re-engagement of U.S. assistance to the State through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and support renewed efforts towards HIV epidemic control.
The US Embassy CDA briefed stakeholders of the new approach to supporting Abia’s expanded HIV program and called on all stakeholders to actively play a role that ensures all PLHIV are identified and placed on lifesaving treatment.
Describing Abia as the state with the sixth highest HIV prevalence in the country, the CDA said Abia has an estimated 58,341 PLHIV.
“October 1, 2021, PEPFAR, through U.S. CDC, marked its initiation of direct service delivery support in Abia State to enable the State to achieve HIV epidemic control by providing lifesaving treatment to its people.
“PEPFAR and CDC’s support will be provided through the implementing partner Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN). They will focus on quality HIV clinical and program management skill-building to ensure service delivery transition to the state government, while simultaneously accelerating the initiation of PLHIV on lifesaving anti-retroviral therapy.
“PEPFAR supports HIV treatment for over 80% of 1.8 million Nigerians and works with state and federal government agencies to build health systems to achieve and sustain HIV epidemic control”.
The U.S. delegation was comprised of PEPFAR Coordinator, Mark Giambrone; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Country Director, Dr. Mary Boyd; U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) HIV/TB Office Director, Rachel Goldstein; and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) Country Director, Dr. Laura Chittenden.