$85bn Spent Globally In Tackling HIV/AIDS by American Government

despite these efforts, we are currently at a crossroads in the HIV response around the world and in Nigeria
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United States (US) Consul-General in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo

Claire Pierangelo, the US Consul-General in Nigeria, announced on Thursday that the US government has spent over $85 billion in the fight against HIV/AIDS around the world, claiming that this has resulted in the saving of more than 17 million lives in 54 countries.

Pierangelo stated this during the launch of the Ondo State Antiretroviral Surge Response in Akure, Ondo State's capital, saying that the US government had made available around $6 billion of the $85 billion to assist Nigeria in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country.

According to the Consul-General,

“despite these efforts, we are currently at a crossroads in the HIV response around the world and in Nigeria.

“The HIV/AIDS continues to be a leading cause of death globally, with over 38 million people living with HIV worldwide, and almost 700,000 people dying from AIDS-related illnesses in 2019.

“In Nigeria alone, about 1.9 million people are currently living with HIV, with more than 44,000 deaths linked to the disease in 2019.”

She did say, however, that over 1.2 million people in Nigeria are currently receiving free HIV/AIDS treatment for the rest of their lives, thanks to a US government grant.

She explained that the launch was necessary to assist in the identification of people living with HIV, the placement of those newly identified on free life-saving treatment, and the retention of those already on treatment.

“Both efforts are needed for better treatment outcomes and improved quality of life for those affected. The ART Surge program in Ondo State is building from a strong programmatic foundation, as well as strong leadership from the Government.

“We will reach the historic achievement of epidemic control if we can continue to work together to remove all barriers that may impact health-seeking behaviours among people living with HIV, including ending user fees, stigma, and discrimination.

“Services must be client-centred, so we need to urgently address issues like long wait times in facility settings and reduced number of clinical visits.

“We understand the challenges in bringing these improvements to reality and remain firmly convinced that the benefits of removing these hurdles far surpass the challenges at hand.”

According to Pierangelo, the US government is working with the Ondo State government to increase the number of people receiving HIV/AIDS care in order to end the epidemic in the state and across the world.

She expressed hope that the disease would be brought under control if the government and other stakeholders continued to collaborate to eliminate all obstacles to health-seeking behavior among HIV-positive people, such as user fees, stigma, and discrimination.

“We understand the challenges in bringing these improvements to reality and remain firmly convinced that the benefits of removing these hurdles far surpass the challenges at hand.”

She urged the state government to abolish all user fees levied by healthcare facilities for non-essential services or those already offered by PEPF AR, which she said are an obstacle to people living with HIV seeking PEPF AR-supported HIV services.

“By eliminating such user fees, the Government will increase demand and ensure more efficient utilization of services provided by PEPFAR, which will lead to our mutual goal of HIV epidemic control in Ondo State,” she said.

In addition, Dr. Mary Boyd, Country Director of the US Center for Disease Control, reported that the US government has been collaborating on placing HIV-positive people on care for at least 18 years.

“This is another phase in the partnership where we are now trying to find the remaining individuals who are infected and don’t have access to treatment,” she said.

Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, the state governor, stated that the state government has prioritized improving the living conditions of HIV-positive people wherever they reside, work, or play.

Mrs. Oladunni Odu, the Secretary to the State Government, represented Akeredolu, who stated that the state government is committed to eliminating all types of preventable morbidity and mortality.


The governor assured that 
“the state will leave no stone unturned until the state becomes HIV/AIDS – competent and ultimately HIV free of new infections that the disease is no longer a threat to collective well being and survival.”

He urged international partners and other stakeholders to continue working alongside the government to achieve the ultimate goal of eradicating HIV.