Dr Morenike Ukpong, the Coordinator, New HIV Vaccines and Microbicides Advocacy Society (NHVMAS), on Monday said that there was hope for the prevention of HIV infections through the intervention of biomedical science.
Ukpong said this in Abuja, while speaking at a HIV Biomedical Prevention Forum, which has “Getting to Zero the Biomedical Way’’ as its theme
She said that the forum was aimed at promoting a synergy between biomedical HIV-prevention science and programming.
“This forum also seeks to provide a unique platform for stakeholders to come together to learn from each other about the newest science and best practices in biomedical HIV prevention.
“It will forge new connections across the field of HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people living with the disease and those who are affected by it,’’ she said.
Ukpong said that the forum would also explore efforts aimed at integrating HIV prevention with HIV treatment, care and support, while aiding the development of research in that regard.
One of the forum’s organisers, Prof. Oni Idigbe, a Director at the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), stressed the need for the country to design effective HIV prevention tools in the absence of a vaccine.
“Although the anti-retroviral drugs are working, we are still far away from getting a complete cure and even when we do, we still need to have a preventive measure against the disease,” she said.
The Conference Coordinator, Dr Uzodinma Adirieje, said that the Federal Government should be committed to meeting the WHO-specified budgetary allocation to the health sector to make a difference.
“Government should do something about meeting Nigeria’s commitment to 15 per-cent budgetary allocation for health.’’
The two-day forum brought together 300 individuals and organisations from the key sectors that are engaged in efforts to mitigate the impact and spread of HIV in Nigeria.
The participants include researchers from universities, government, community-based organisations and frontline providers.