As children in Nigeria join their counterparts across the globe to celebrate World Children’s Day today, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has urged Nigerians to take a moment to think about children living with HIV and their families.
A statement in Abuja by the Director General of NACA, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said: “HIV/AIDS is a global health challenge of our lifetime, but we remain committed to fighting this virus to finish.
“Research has led to innovation in preventing transmission of HIV from infected mothers to their children and an ever-widening scope of treatment options for children living with HIV and their families.
“Counselling and testing for HIV is crucial, especially among pregnant women to protect the unborn child and ensure that in the very near future, a HIV-free generation is made possible.”
He added: “As we celebrate with our children, please join us and help us win the fight against HIV in children. “No child should be born with HIV in Nigeria.”
Noting that Nigeria still accounts for a significant proportion of children living with HIV infection globally, with the burden fed by unrestrained mother-to-child (vertical) transmission of HIV and a dysfunctional Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) system, NACA said even though there has been modest progress in antiretroviral coverage for pregnant women living with HIV, vertical transmission of HIV infection from infected mother to child remains high at an estimated 28 per cent of affected pregnancies.
The agency has been working with partners to scale-up services for HIV prevention, care and support.