ELIMINATING MOTHER-TO-CHILD-TRANSMISSION – NIGERIA

On the 13th of November, 2014 Nigeria launched the National “elimination of Mother-To-Child- HIV transmission (eMTCT) operational plan at the International Conference Center, Abuja.

The operational plan (2015-2016) was launched by President (Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan), who has reiterated that no Nigerian child should be born of HIV. He was represented by the Vice President of Nigeria (Arch. Namadi Sambo).

An operational plan such as this is commendable , as Nigeria currently accounts for about 30% gap in Mother-To-Child-Transmissions globally; a yawning gap that begs for speedy intervention as we work towards an AIDS free generation.

Prevention of Mother-To-Child transmissions (PMTCT) in Nigeria has recorded some level of success, most notably the reduction of prevalence rate from 5.8 per cent in 2001 to 4.1 per cent in 2010, however  more needs to be done.

Some of the factors mitigating against PMTCT in Nigeria include : structural challenges, inadequate services at Primary Health Care level, many pregnant women choosing to visit traditional birth attendants for delivery services, and poor attendance of pregnant women at antenatal services etc.

We look forward to the implementation of the operational plan, because it would definitely put Nigeria on the map of countries championing their HIV/AIDS response.

We will keep you updated on the implementation of the operational plan.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS – Y+ STEERING COMMITTEE

 

Y+, the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV, Steering Committee

 

Background

Y+ is transitioning from an Advisory Group of the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) to a global network of young people living with HIV. As part of the new governance structure, a Steering Committee (SC) will be created to govern the network.

The current Y+ Advisory Group is supporting this transition process, including an open and transparent process to select the SC. The former Y+ Advisory Group will eventually transition into an informal mentorship body and will not have any decision-making power.

Y+ seeks young people living with HIV who are passionate about making a difference in their community, country, region and globally to apply to be part of the inaugural Y+ SC.

 

Steering Committee role and responsibilities

The role of the Y+ Steering Committee (SC) is to guide the development of the Y+ network, determine programmatic priorities, make decisions through a transparent process and ensure different communities of YPLHIV from all regions are represented in Y+ decision-making. The SC

is composed of young people (under the age of 30) living with HIV. The Steering Committee’s mandate includes, but is not limited to:

 

  • Make decisions on behalf of the Y+ network;
  • Provide strategic guidance and oversight to the Y+ network;
  • Elect an Advisory Board Member to GNP+ on behalf of YPLHIV;
  • Ensure meaningful engagement of YPLHIV in strategic areas of the HIV response, such as knowledge management, advocacy, leadership and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and young people living with HIV.

 

Membership terms will be for one year with a possibility of a second year based on a peer-led performance review. Y+ seeks individual and organization representatives from the following regions – two people will be selected per region:

 

  • African Region
  • Latin America Region
  • Asia Pacific Region
  • Caribbean Region
  • European Region
  • North America Region

For more information on this please visit the website :  http://www.gnpplus.net/call-applications-y-global-network-young-people-living-hiv-steering-committee/

 

Applications are due by 13 November 2014!

Attapon (Ed) Ngoksin

Key Populations Officer: Global Advocacy

Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)

 

 

RED RIBBON STAR OF THE MONTH – Fredrick Adeboye

The Red Ribbon Star (RRS) of the month is dedicated to celebrating individuals who are living with HIV and are open about their status. Their journey is shared to inspire people, that you can live a meaningful and productive life regardless of your HIV status. 

This month, Fredrick Adeboye shares his 9 years journey in a refreshing, relaxing but yet educating manner. From ARVs, to adherence, to disclosure and living positively…… 

TITLE : ARVs ARE A SECOND CHANCE TO LIVE:

Antiretroviral drugs or ARVs as they are commonly known is another shot at life, a second chance to live. Being a drug that must be taken for life, it is important to adhere strictly to its daily prescribed dosages. This is my 9th year on drug support. I was placed straight on drugs when I discovered I had HIV because I was already very bad, I must have had it several years before I became seriously sick. I swallow my life tablet every 12hrs, twice daily. When I look back, it is hard to know it’s been some 9 long years. On few occasions, early when I just started drugs, I missed my timings, and sometime skip my drugs, but that was then. I will not advice anyone to do that for any reason.

There are two common lines of ARVs regimen in Nigeria, if the first line fails; you are moved to the second line. However, the first line will only fail when you fail to adhere strictly to your prescribed dosage. The 2nd line is more demanding, it entails swallowing more drugs, while some of the drugs requires that they are refrigerated. It places more demands on you, demands that can be avoided with adherence.

People skip their drugs for several reasons; it might be for lack of money, which can prevent access, because, sometimes, you may not even have money to get to the clinic. It might be as a result of stigma, people might avoid you when they see HIV drugs with you, and I know several people who have had to hide to swallow the pills. We must be mindful that taking ARVs comes with lots of demands. First, ARVs demands you eat good food, have enough time to rest, and you may also face bouts of side effects when you just started, before your body adapts to the new situation.

I am very healthy and highly active. I work in Lagos as a Proof Reader, and I also report at times. My job is a demanding job, I am not treated differently from those who are HIV negative, but, wait a minute, how many of my colleagues even knew their status? You see, people are still scared stiff of conducting an HIV test!

My day starts actually with my drugs at 6.30AM. I repeat at 6.30 in the evening again. A key aspect of being on ARVs is the constant medical check-ups we do to monitor the success of our treatment. I am happy to announce that I am a symbol of treatment success in Nigeria. Now, my viral load is undetectable. If I approach the church now, they will pronounce me cured, that they have performed a miracle. But people must know HIV has no cure. A lot of people will abandon their drugs with claims of divine healing. When they are about dying, they rush back to their drugs. The HIV miracle from God is the ARVs, because it is working. You no longer have to die from being HIV positive. My viral load has been undetectable for several years.

Our medical check-up involves what we call bleeding; where our blood is taken every six months to measure the CD4 cell count, viral loads and other indices. Drugs are dispensed on a monthly basis, and on each occasion, we measure our weight. The weight is important as it is an indication of adherence. Weight loss is a common sign that something is wrong with a person on ARV. It is a sure sign to care givers to take further action.

I do everything that everyone does. I go to my barber, I eat out at canteens, and I visit the library, and hang out with friends. It’s a normal life. What I do not to forget to take my drugs is to go around with the drugs. I keep them in a drug case. My case is divided into two sections. One section is for my supplements, while the other side houses my ARVs. I also set an alarm on my phone as a reminder.

FA

Nine years! I have come a long way. I thank God for a second chance at life. You know, with the advances in treatment, I have a strong feeling that I will live long enough to see the end of AIDS.

—– By Steve Aborisade (Contributing editor)

Next week our Red Ribbon Advocate (RRA) returns : celebrating advocates and activists in the field of HIV/AIDS. 

Do you have a story you would like to share? send us a mail on redribbonadvocate@gmail.com

WHERE DOES YOUR STATE STAND??? – HIV PREVALENCE

The new HIV prevalence rate for states in Nigeria is out , and it raises a lot of  questions.  Some states witnessed very dramatic and disturbing rise, while others experienced great decline. Benue state which has been at the top of the leader board for a while now , dropped significantly to 9th place.

Rivers state , which currently sits at the top of states prevalence ladder,  rose from 10th place in 2012 to 1st place in 2014; with one of the highest prevalence recorded by a state in recent times 15.2%.

Ekiti state is at the bottom of the prevalence ladder with 0.2%, which is great but be that as it may, more needs to be done in order to avoid a rise in future reports.

The question therefore is where does your state stand in the recent country progress report and what does it mean?

Prevalence percentage

Photo Credit : Nigeria GARPR 2014

Prevalence Map

Photo Credit : Nigeria GARPR 2014

In case you are wondering what prevalence means; the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it thus:  the degree to which something is prevalent; especially :  the percentage of a population that is affected with a particular disease at a given time

Based on the foregoing , it is important to know how robust or lackluster your state’s HIV/AIDS response plan is. You have a right to know!  We need to get our state and the Federal government to be committed to the national HIV/AIDS response through scale up in testing, treatment , PMTCT, Lab monitoring, education and funding etc.

According to The National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS, 2012), Nigeria’s  overall HIV prevalence has dropped from 4.1% to 3.4%.  This ought to be commended; but the overarching gaps in treatment & testing; as well as little decline in new infections makes it difficult to do the happy dance at the new national prevalence percentage.

Statistics source :  National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS, 2012) & Nigeria GARPR 2014

JOB VACANCIES AT AHF NIGERIA…..

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria country program has some job openings and they would like for interested candidates to apply…..

The link below has the list of available vacancies in Abuja, Nasarawa and Kogi states Nigeria.

http://careerslip.com/AHF-Nigeria

Interested candidates should submit their C.Vs and cover letters to the following email address globalhr@aidshealth.org not later than 12 Noon on Thursday 9th October, 2014 (2 weeks). Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

ABOUT THE AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION (AHF)

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS healthcare provider in the USA. AHF currently provides medical care and/or services to more than 350,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Asia.

Additional information is available at www.aidshealth.org, find AHF Nigeria on Facebook: www.facebook.com/AHFNigeria.