The UNAIDS has global target 90-90-90: ensure every nine in 10 people know their HIV status, 90% of them are put on treatment, and viral load is suppressed among nine in 10 of them by 2020.
Nigeria has launched new guidelines in line with the World Health Organisation to pursue the target.
Zipporah Kpamor, country director for Management Sciences for Health, which is helping disseminate the guidelines tells Daily Trust widens access to HIV treatment.
Why do we need new guidelines?
The treatment of HIV has gone a long way. There have been new discoveries, new drugs have come up and new ways of doing things. There is a need for us to change the way we have been doing things, so that we can do them better and hopefully achieve the laudable goals that have been set by the UNAIDS globally.
What's new in them?
One major thing is now once a person tests HIV positive, you can start the person on treatment immediately.
Before now, we used to say, ok we have to check your CD4 count to see if they are lower than a certain level. There is also clinical staging. If you are stage 3 or 4, then we start you on treatment. Now, no more. the only criteria that makes you eligible for HIV treatment is that you test positive.
This opens the door wider to a lot of people who will be seeking treatment.
What figures are there as to numbers of people expected to be on treatment in record period.?
We estimated 3.4 million people are living with HIV/AIDS. Many of them do not know their status. This will open the door for a lot more people to come and test to see whether they are HIV positive.
As many as test positive, they can quickly come in. we are hoping we can scale up quickly, maybe get a million, two million of those people we are missing, to get into treatment. It has been seen as a very effective way of preventing infection.
Opening the door for more people to come in for treatment will help us reduce the infection at community level very fast.