The United States Government has said there are about 81,000 People Living with HIV (PLHIV) in Delta State out of the approximately 1.9 million people living with the virus in Nigeria.
It expressed concerned over the negative effect of user-fees charged to PLHIV by health care facilities in Nigeria. These fees, according to the US Government, include charges for non-essential services like registration, initial lab investigations, or those already covered by the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
The US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission, Kathleen FitzGibbon, raised this concern on Thursday when she led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the state launched the US-supported Anti-retroviral Treatment Surge.
FitzGibbon urged the governor to ensure the immediate elimination of the fees, saying there was a need to identify and put PLHIV on life-saving ART.
She noted that the programme was aimed at ensuring that PLHIV live a long, normal, productive, and healthy life and help in breaking the transmission of the virus.
She urged Okowa to prioritise the procurement of additional HIV test kits to support the current PEPFAR-initiated surge efforts.