Prof. John Idoko, the Director -General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA),  has said the people receiving antiretroviral drugs would increase  from 600,000 to 1.2 million in 2014.

Idoko said this in Abuja on Tuesday during the 2013 meeting of NACA and State Agencies for the Control of AIDS (SACA).

“Key of those things we want to do are one, we want to double the numbers of people who are on drugs right now from 600,000 to 1.2 million; we want to test so many, our target is 80 million.

“In the last four weeks we have raised the tempo round the country as far as testing is concerned.

“We want to ensure that we can intervene in pregnant women who are HIV positive so they don’t transmit the virus to their babies.

“We also want to address the issue of young people, 70 per cent of this country’s population is young and most at risk; those are the cardinal things we need to take forward.

“To discuss with the people at the state level to see how they can go back and start looking at the data and the plan that can take us there.

He said the aim of the forum was to ensure that states, local and the communities drove the response to achieve the universal access target by 2015.

Idoko said one of the biggest challenges the Agency faced was the distribution of the HIV and AIDS fund to civil society groups in the states.

He noted that penalties would be given to states that failed to disburse the HIV and AIDS funds properly.

“What we agreed at the last mid-term review meeting is that if by the end of Dec. 31, any state that has not disbursed its fund,  we will take it and allocate it to something that is our priority”.

In her contribution, the Director, Partnership and Coordination at NACA, Hajiya Maimuna Mohammad, said the forum would ensure that each state got its target on the number of people that would be tested for HIV.

Mohammed said without target the states would not be able to plan properly.

“We want to test more people in HIV but NACA cannot do it alone, so without target we cannot plan very well.

“We will assign targets to each state to go back and plan how they will carry it out.’’

She said the challenges for the fight against HIV and AIDS were human resource and funding.

Mohammed said the private sector would be involved to source for funds in order to ensure ownership.

She said all the states now had resource mobilisation plan, adding that they would identify key stakeholders within the states for HIV funding.

 Earlier, the Director of Treatment, Care and Support, Kaduna State AIDS Control Agency, Dr Mark-David Anthony,  said the forum would identify the right interventions for the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Anthony said, “We are to look at the processes in which we want to respond to HIV and AIDS in 2014.

“We are looking at what we have done in 2013 in responding to HIV and AIDS so as to see the progress we have made.

“To see where the gaps and challenges are; so based on that, we will be able to identify the right intervention’’.

He said awareness level had increased in the country, calling on Nigerians to know their status so as to enable them to stay healthy.

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