By Oluwaseun OLUWAROTIMI, Abuja
In the bid to totally eradicate HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and other affected countries, United States president, Mr. Barrack Obama, has called for global interventions.
The President who spoke through Ms. Esther Pan Sloane, Adviser for Economic and Social Affairs of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York in a statement made available to our reporter also called on UNAIDS’s co-sponsors and partners to focus the most effective interventions on the highest burden geographic locations and populations, including vulnerable and at-risk populations.
Speaking further, Obama said the UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy for 2016-2021 is strongly aligned with his Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria.
“Its Fast-Track Strategy places the 90-90-90 targets at center stage and is structured around the Sustainable Development Goals” he added.
The US leader pressed further that for the period of 2016 to 2021, UNAIDS had prioritized 35 Fast Track countries that account for nearly 90 percent of all new HIV infections.
His words: “Its Strategy reinforces the need to focus on specific districts and cities within countries. This type of prioritization and focus on sub-national units is absolutely necessary to reach the 90-90-90 targets. We will work alongside UNICEF, other UNAIDS co-sponsors and development partners in this effort”
Although children make up only 7 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS, they account for 11 percent of new HIV infections and 13 percent of AIDS-related deaths, Obama said, stressing that antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage for children stands at only 32 percent.
Furthermore, he said children and adolescents on ART are less likely than adults to reach viral load suppression and more likely to be lost from care.
According to Obama, HIV continues to affect profoundly the lives and future of children, beyond the risk of infection. He added that over 13 million children have lost one or two parents due to AIDS and have complex protection, care and support needs.
His words: “Many times more children live with parents who do not know their HIV status, suffer with HIV related illness, or are on life-long onerous treatment that may deplete the family’s financial assets. The social and physical effects of HIV impact millions of children.
“HIV affected young children face cognitive, physical, and linguistic delays and often live in households impoverished by chronic illness and death of parents. Moreover, HIV affected children and adolescents are at increased risk of violence–including gender-based violence–and ultimately at increased risk of HIV infection”