May 19, 2024

HIV epidemic control in Nigeria is a reality, says U.S. Ambassador

U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard joined virtually and delivered the keynote address at the Launch of the Imo State COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Campaign.
U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard joined virtually and delivered the keynote address at the Launch of the Imo State COVID-19 Mass Vaccination Campaign.

After a decades-long struggle, HIV and AIDS epidemic control is a reality for Nigeria, said US Ambassador to Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard at the UN House in Abuja.

Nigeria’s first case of HIV was reported in 1986 and in the following decades, an epidemic engulfed the nation. HIV prevalence reached a peak of 5.8 percent in 2001. Since then, tremendous progress has been made in the fight against the devastating disease. 

“Today, we have come to celebrate that the impossible is possible and reaching HIV epidemic control is a reality for Nigeria,” said Ambassador Leonard.

“We are most proud of how we reached this point together,” she continued. The United States has collaborated with Nigeria and other governments through multiple programs aimed at fighting the epidemic such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.

Ambassador Leonard celebrated the progress made by AIDs programs and reflected on the United States’ role in their success. “Our key partnerships with the national and state governments, UNAIDS, and the Global Fund were instrumental in determining what systems and strategy we needed to gain traction and outpace HIV,” she said.

With the HIV/AIDs epidemic being a topic of international discussion for some time, the United States has assisted Nigeria and other African nations in funding the fight against the disease.

“Since 2003, the United States has contributed over $6 billion to strengthen the systems side of the equation to train and recruit hundreds of thousands of health workers, upgrade existing laboratories infrastructures to world class status and develop the most up-to-date data management and supply chain systems to advance the Government of Nigeria’s ability to deliver comprehensive HIV services,” said Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard.

While HIV and AIDs statistics are reaching lows that have not been seen since the start of the epidemic, there is still work to be done. As Nigeria draws closer to its most important election in years, the development of health services, facilities, and medical funds is a need that impacts millions of Nigerians.

“The U.S. Government is proud to have collaborated with the Joint UN team and other stakeholders in documenting Nigeria’s journey thus far and we look forward to continued success on our path to an AIDS-free generation,” concluded the US Ambassador.

The United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland is currently on a visit to several African nations including Nigeria.

“In Nigeria, Under Secretary Nuland and the team will meet with government and civil society representatives to discuss issues of shared concern including regional security, free and fair elections, and business innovation. Throughout the trip, the Under Secretary will highlight the important work the United States is doing with African and international partners to shore up global food security and health systems,” said a media note from the US Department of State.

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