National Policy on HIV/AIDS
Nigeria is committed to improving the quality of life of all Nigerians and this is expressed in the series of developmental plans it has embarked upon since its independence in 1960. Nigeria is again responding to the threat of the HIV/AIDS pandemic with a plan of action that, when followed through, will put Nigeria on a recovery path to social and economic development.
In 1997, the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Health, adopted the National Policy on HIV/AIDS and STI. This was designed to limit the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. However, this was at a time when the magnitude and wide spread nature and impact of the disease was not completely recognized. For this reason, some essential components that are now known to be necessary to control the spread and the impact of the epidemic were not adequately addressed. The resultant effect is that the HIV prevalence rate continued to rise; the number of AIDS-related deaths increased and its impact on the country worsened.
The country has developed a new approach to the epidemic, ensuring that all sectors of the economy relevant to the control of the epidemic are involved in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the country's response to the epidemic. Similarly, all sectors of the economy that are affected by the epidemic are to jointly develop plans and processes to mitigate its impact. This approach will include strategies to prevent further HIV/AIDS transmission, provide care and support for the people living with HIV/AIDS and mitigate the social and economic impact of HIV/AIDS on the country.
Nigeria, in revising the HIV/AIDS policy, recognizes the importance of a multi-sectoral effort to control the epidemic and its effects; accepts that all Nigerians must together accept responsibility for prevention of HIV transmission and the care and support of those infected and affected by the virus. Our policy identifies the importance of upholding and protecting the rights of all Nigerians including people living with or affected by HIV/AIDS; addresses the vulnerability of certain social groups including women and children to the HIV/AIDS epidemic; and develops appropriate measures to ensure that all these relevant issues are addressed.
It is expected that the successful implementation of this policy will bring about the control of the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria. It is hoped this will mitigate its impact to the point where it is no longer of public health, social and economic concern, such that all Nigerians will be able to achieve socially and economically productive lives free of the disease and its effects.