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#WORLDAIDSDAY: Group says 12m people infected with HIV awaiting treatment

Creating awareness on HIV in rural areas in Nigeria

No fewer than 12 million infected persons are waiting to access HIV treatment while 1.7 million people became infected with HIV in 2019, due to Inadequacy to access essential services.

This disclosure was made in a statement by the Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Winnie Byanyinma, to mark this year’s World Aids Day.

According to Byanyinma, COVID-19 is pushing further off track the progress of health and development that the world has achieved for over 20 years, including the gains made against HIV.

“Like all epidemics, it is widening the inequalities that already existed.

“Gender inequality, racial inequality, social and economic inequalities. We are becoming a more unequal world,” she said.

Read also: Nigeria gets Global Fund’s $890m grant to tackle HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria

Byanyinma however, expressed satisfaction for the progress made so far in protecting persons living with HIV and also appreciated health workers, who have in one way or the other contributed to the fight against the virus.

“I am proud that over the past year the HIV movement has mobilised to defend our progress, to protect people living with HIV and other vulnerable groups, and to push the coronavirus back.

“Whether campaigning for multimonth dispensing of HIV treatment, organizing home deliveries of medicines or providing financial assistance, food and shelter to at-risk groups, HIV activists and affected communities have again shown they are the mainstay of the HIV response. I salute you!

“It is the strength within communities, inspired by a shared responsibility to each other, that has contributed in great part to our victories over HIV,” Byanyima stated.

She urged the world to strive more than ever to beat the colliding epidemics of HIV and COVID-19.

By Emmanuella Ibe…

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