The Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) has called on governments to ensure Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) is completely free, accessible and without user fee in 2019. This made stated by Peter Obialor, Lagos State Coordinator of the group.
He added that his members were currently paying N2, 000 monthly to access the drugs. The group also requested that treatments should be made available in the nearest facilities closer to People Living with HIV (PLHIV) for easy access.
He said, “The major thing we request from governments this year is to make PLHIV accessing treatment totally free, no user fee and it should be in all the nearest places and facilities for easy accessibility. We have only benefited from AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN) program which allows us free access to drugs. Other implementing partners (IPs) like FHI 360, a global health and development organization in charge of Nigeria Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and many other hospitals and facilities have refused us free access to drugs. They are also collecting user fee, like for test which is not supposed to be so. We pay as high as N2,000 per pack every month; many PLHIV cannot afford paying this fee and so, this has made many fall from adherence.”
According to him, many PLHIV are now leaving their facilities to other facilities because of user fee. He has also called for assistance of stakeholders to cut off the fee so that the planned 90-90-90 Strategy to get HIV epidemic under control could be achieved.