HIV/AIDS: Society raises alarm over slow pace of viral suppression

Mr Ikenna Nwakamma, the first Co-Chairman of Coalition of Civil Society Network on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CCSNHAN) on Friday said the rate of viral suppression among people living with HIV is slow and urged people with the condition to adhere to their medication.

Nwakamma told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that the call became necessary because of many people living with the virus patronise faith-based organisations for treatment.

He explained that religious organisations had continued to compromise the curative intervention of government and agencies because people living with the virus abandon their medications and wait for miracle healing.

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He added that “we can’t accept a situation in which government and donors spend a huge amount of money to keep people alive while some faith-based organisations ask such people to believe in prayer healing alone.

“While undergoing such faith-based healing process, many of them abandon their medical treatment and at that point,
viral suppression becomes slow.”

The society co-chairman warned people on HIV medication never to stop taking their drugs even when undergoing
prayer healing, emphasising that “there is no cure for the condition yet, and that is why people with the virus develop
complications when they abandon their drugs, believing that they have been healed.”

He said that when such people come down with complications, government and donors would have to spend more money on managing the consequential crisis.

NAN reports that UNAIDS has 90:90:90 target for vision 2020, which stipulates 90 per cent HIV awareness,
90 per cent treatment and 90 per cent viral suppression.

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