27th of May is a day set aside for the promotion and welfare of children. As we celebrate our children on this day, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS wants you to take a moment to think about children living with HIV and their families.
Nigeria still accounts for a significant proportion of children living with HIV infection globally. This burden is fed by unrestrained mother-to-child (vertical) transmission of HIV and a dysfunctional Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) system. Even though there has been modest progress in antiretroviral coverage for pregnant women living with HIV, vertical transmission of HIV infection from infected mother to child remains high at an estimated 28% of affected pregnancies. NACA has been working with partners to scale-up services for HIV prevention, care and support. In 2015, Nigeria successfully increased Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services to over 7,265 sites with 53,677 pregnant women placed on antiretroviral treatment. Despite this progress, a lot more needs to be done to stop children getting infected with HIV.
According to Dr Sani Aliyu, Director General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS – “HIV/AIDS is a global health challenge of our lifetime but we remain committed to fighting this virus to finish. Research has led to innovation in preventing transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their children and an ever-widening scope of treatment options for children living with HIV and their families. Counselling and testing for HIV is crucial especially among pregnant women to protect the unborn child and ensure that in the very near future, a HIV-FREE GENERATION IS MADE POSSIBLE”
As we celebrate with our children, please join us and help us win the fight against HIV in children. No child should be born with HIV in Nigeria” said Dr Sani Aliyu.