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International News

Nigeria to Spend $248 Million to Fight HIV

August 19, 2004

Nigeria will spend $248 million to get 200,000 HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral drugs by the end of 2005, Health Minister Eyitayo Lambo announced Wednesday. In addition to the cost of procuring the drugs, the money will be used to diagnose and monitor patients. "This is a very ambitious program and we are going to do everything to make sure it succeeds," said Lambo, adding that a large part of the money will come from grants by the United States and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

About 5 percent, or 6 million, of Nigeria's 126 million population is estimated to be HIV-infected. The government claims it is providing subsidized treatment to around 14,000 HIV patients. Activists and patients, however, complain that even this small-scale program frequently dispenses expired AIDS drugs or runs out of medicines entirely.

A recent study indicated Nigeria's HIV incidence in 2003 had dropped to 5 percent of the population from 5.8 percent in 2001. On Wednesday, however, Lambo said it was too soon to conclude that the country's HIV rate is on a long-term downward trend. "We are not celebrating yet, because until we have two successive drops in infection rates, we are not in position to say indeed we are beginning to see a fall in HIV infection rates in Nigeria."

Back to other news for August 19, 2004

Adapted from:
Associated Press
08.19.04; Gilbert da Costa

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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