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Nigerian Govt tasked on bridging gap in HIV testing



Nigerian Govt tasked on bridging gap in HIV testing
A non-governmental organisation, Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), has called on government at all levels to stay committed to HIV Self Testing in the country as a way of bridging the gap in HIV testing coverage especially during this COVID 19 era.

The Executive Secretary of CiSHAN, Dr. Walter Ndukwe, made the call at a virtual media briefing to usher in the commencement of the National Campaign for HIV Self Testing and aimed at ensuring that no fewer than 10Million Nigerians know their HIV Status through HIV Self Testing,’ which would be conducted in partnership with the media.

The campaign also targeted at reaching the unreached population especially Adolescents and Young Persons would be done through access to self-testing kits with the aim to support the government in achieving the first 95 of 95:95:95 global target of 2030.

“The Nigerian AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (2018) results showed that Nigeria was lagging behind in achieving the 1st 95 of the 95-95-95 target by 2030.

“The lockdown arising from COVID19 had also significantly decreased access of community members general, key and vulnerable population to HIV testing. Prior to the lockdown, there had been challenges with thinking around how to address the gap with populations access to HIV testing and identifying the unreached HIV positive population. This require re-strategizing in ways that communities and community members can take the leadership to drive HIV testing.”

Dr. Ndukwe noted that the need to evolve community driven HIV testing strategies was further re-affirmed by the anecdotal field reports by CISHAN during the lockdown.

“CiSHAN had coordinated a national effort in partnership with Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), Association of Women Against AIDS in Nigeria (ASWHAN) and the Association of Positive Youth in Nigeria (APYIN) to work with identified community members/advocates in cohorts to deliver anti-retroviral drugs to PLHIV in need of it during the intensive phase of the lock down.

Nigerian Govt tasked on bridging gap in HIV testing

“CISHAN volunteers identified multiple individuals who asked for where to get tested: a gap that could be addressed through access to self-test kits.”

Ndukwe revealed that the campaign strategy is focused on creating awareness and demand for HIV self-testing in Nigeria through its over 5000 members located in the 774 local government areas of Nigeria.

“CISHAN with the support of the media will facilitate access to HIV self-testing kits in both rural and hard to reach areas/populations. This campaign is code named HIV Self Testing Campaign: Getting 10Million Nigerians to know their HIV Status through HIV Self Testing

“The campaign will lead to: Increase in the number of Nigerians who have tested for HIV which is 10million by end of 2020. Identification of the newly diagnosed HIV positive individuals and linking them to treatment in partnership with the Lead Implementing Partners for each state. Increase in uptake of PrEP by persons at substantial risk of HIV infection.

“Update on Community Panel Discussion on HIV Self Testing:
CiSHAN has organized community panel discussion on HIV Self Testing for the past 15th weeks.”

He gave some highlight by CiSHAN to include; NACA DG & UNAIDS Country Director discuss the overall HIV Response and the opportunities that HIV Self Testing Presents.

PEPFAR & Global Fund Country Representatives discuss on donor and bilateral support to HIV Self Testing in Nigeria. Research activities around HIV Self Testing particularly the researches Innovative Tools for HIV Self Testing Project led by NIMR as well as the UNITAID HIVST catalytic project in Nigeria amongst many others.

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Nigerian Govt tasked on bridging gap in HIV testing

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