I recently came across this news for an upcoming book launch:
It has been over 30 years since the onset of the global AIDS epidemic and advances in biomedical research have led to the discovery of effective medicines which for many transformed AIDS from a death sentence to a chronic treatable condition. Yet, the greatest burden of disease remains in parts of the world that struggle to provide drugs for the millions of AIDS patients still in need. Nigeria, the most populous nation on the African continent, continues to bear one of the highest burdens of AIDS, while providing for over one million patients. Launched in 2003, US President George W. Bush started the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, the largest effort by any nation to combat a single disease. He envisioned that the program would "...turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean."
Turning the Tide: AIDS in Nigeria documents the tremendous progress of the country in preventing HIV infection, treating those in need and developing a responsive health care system. Written by dozens of the country's leading HIV experts, this book describes the multi-sectoral response to the epidemic with implications for future policies with global relevance. The human side of the epidemic is also described to acknowledge the challenges to AIDS patients in Nigeria, and the dedication of the health care providers and their efforts to reduce stigma, provide care and give hope to the many...
The more than 532 page book is divided into 4 sections. It contains 26 chapters and 2 essays. The book will be launched on the 11th of April, 2019 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. Idoko Isaac, APIN Public Health Initiatives Ltd./Gte
This got me so worried and short of words because I don't understand this claim that the epidemic has reduced or is reducing! In a country where HIV stigma is still very high and people living with HIV cannot get job employment due to their HIV positive status, or where people have still not disclosed their status to their spouses because of the fear of losing their partners. This is also a country where gay and LGBT rights are denied, and I could go to jail for supporting their rights in any form or manner! Or where you are not allowed to educate young people in school about the use of condoms as one of the means of protection, and lots of these young people are having unprotected sex already in schools. Where there is no availability of PrEP at most government clinics and communities in Nigeria. And they are saying the spread of HIV is reducing?
I can still remember a doctor in one of our government hospitals showing me data of children who are not getting treatment, failing treatment, and patients lost to follow up. Some nurses and matrons in different government clinics have required that I visit their clinic to give health education on HIV/AIDS. And in some families, we have more than one person who is living with HIV. I am still quarrying this survey done and many more issues that the Nigerian government is not looking into in terms of prevention. Most especially for the young people, and this why I choose to bridge the gap by taking the HIV health education to schools and communities as a Global Ambassador for The Well Project. I do wish I could do more and cover more ground in reaching the young people in schools and in the community! The Well Project has given me a great opportunity to be able to reach young people in different schools, both private and government, schools in Lagos and Abuja.
Here is some copy from The Well Project's fact sheet on Treatment as Prevention
Researchers continue to examine the promise of treatment as prevention as a real game-changer to affect the course of the HIV pandemic. A recent study showed that, in serodifferent heterosexual couples, taking PrEP as a 'bridge' – the HIV-negative partner takes PrEP while the partner living with HIV takes the first six months of antiretroviral treatment – reduced HIV transmissions by 96 percent. Another study found that an undetectable viral load in the partner living with HIV makes it virtually impossible to transmit the virus to their HIV-negative partner. Treatment as prevention is important because it not only can positively affect the health and well-being of those living with HIV, but also serve to protect those who are HIV-negative.
My Question: Are we really Turning the Tide?!!!