The United States Government has donated $90m (N32bn) to Nigeria for the HIV/AIDS survey that will take place across the country starting from June.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS and the United States Government in Abuja on Thursday.
The survey, which has been tagged, ‘Nigeria AIDS Indicators and Impact Survey,’ will have a sample size of 170,000 people and is expected to last for about six months.
The exercise, which is the largest survey of HIV/AIDS in the world, will take place across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.
Adewole said the American government had directly supported the survey with about $90m and, indirectly, through other partners.
The minister said, “The resources for the survey are largely from the US government. Directly, they are giving us about $90m; and indirectly, they are working with other partners to ensure the success of the survey.”
Adewole, who spoke on the importance of the survey, said, “The survey will put behind us the concept of making guess work in terms of burden of HIV disease in Nigeria.
“We do not know how many people are infected; so, this study will enable us get a precise number.
“This survey is not only about HIV, but about Hepatitis B and C.
“This survey will also help us to drive forward the agenda to rid Nigeria of Hepatitis C. As you know, Hepatitis C now has a cure.
“Also, people who test positive will be placed on treatment, as having HIV is not the end of the world.”
Adewole said politics would not be involved in the process, even as he promised that the result of the survey would be published “so that we can discover the real state of HIV in the country.
“It will serve as a drive to our effort to control the epidemic.”
Also speaking, the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, urged Nigerians and interested groups to ensure that the exercise was a success.
He said the world was watching and a successful survey would make Nigeria a shining example and ultimately help bring the HIV epidemic under control.
Symington said, said “An epidemic control has not yet been achieved anywhere, but with this effort the government of Nigeria in partnership with this extra ordinary team of partners funded by every man, woman and child in the United States of America, a huge success will be achieved. As one thing everyone can do this year, is to help make this survey a success.”
The Director-General of NACA, Sani Aliyu, said the survey would help solve the problem of accurate data and also more precise information of the coverage of HIV in Nigeria.
Aliyu urged Nigerians to participate in the survey, to enable accurate and precise results.