The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS has appealed to governments at all levels to make Antiretroviral Therapy available, accessible and free for people living with HIV/AIDS in 2019.
The Lagos state Coordinator of the group, Peter Obialor made the appeal while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Friday.
He revealed his members are paying N2,000 monthly to access antiretroviral drugs.
On behalf of the group, Obialor also requested treatments be made available in the nearest facilities so people living with HIV (PLWHIV) will be able to easily access them.
In his own words: “The major thing we request from governments this year is to make PLHIV accessing treatment totally free, no user fee and it should be in all the nearest places and facilities for easy accessibility.
“We have only benefited from AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) programme which allows us free access to drugs.
“Other implementing partners (IPs) like FHI 360, a global health and development organisation in charge of Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and many other hospitals and facilities have refused us free access to drugs.
“They are also collecting user fee, like for test which is not supposed to be so.
“We pay as high as N2,000 per pack every month; many PLHIV cannot afford to pay this fee and so, this has made many fall from adherence.
“They are no more picking the drugs when they are supposed to and they are also not swallowing or taking the drugs when necessary,’’
He called upon relevant stakeholder to remove access fee in order for the 90-90-90 strategy, a goal set up by the United Nations to get the HIV epidemic under control could be achieved.
The idea is that by 2020, 90 per cent of people who are HIV infected will be diagnosed, 90 per cent of people who are diagnosed will be on antiretroviral treatment and 90 per cent of those who receive Antiretroviral will be virally suppressed.
Mr Obialor also decried how the CD4 count test usually carried out on PLHIV to know how their immune system functions had been stopped.
He pleaded that CD4 count and viral load tests be carried out together so that PLHIV would have adequate information to manage their status.
He called for proper equipping of Primary Health Centres (PHCs) and employment of more doctors and nurses to oversee the needs of PLHIV. (NAN)