AIDS in Nigeria: A Nation on the Threshold is intended to help guide that response. Written by dozens of the country’s leading HIV experts, the book explores the dynamics of the epidemic, analyzes prevention efforts, identifies crucial gaps, and formulates effective strategies for controlling the epidemic. Complementing the experts’ words are the dramatic portraits of people whose lives have been forever transformed by AIDS. Their stories reveal the human costs of the epidemic–and the courage required to overcome it.
Imagine an African village with no mothers or fathers, just children and grandparents. Increasingly, people across Africa are not having to imagine such a world: they’re living it, every day. And Nigeria, the most populous country on the continent, is facing what, unchecked, could become one of the largest epidemics in the history of AIDS.
In November 2000, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Harvard School of Public Health with $25 million to create the AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN). In partnership with government agencies, universities, and nongovernmental organizations in Nigeria, APIN strives to reduce the rate of growth of Nigeria's HIV epidemic—and ultimately reverse its course.
Working with the APIN Nigerian Advisory Council, the initiative leaders chose Lagos, Oyo, and Plateau States as their focal points to meet the proposed milestone goals for the program's first 18 months. Four cardinal points now guide Phase II of APIN, which expands on these initial efforts. As part of this second phase, Borno State was added as a fourth target state in 2003.
Researchers are developing collaborative HIV prevention programs as the Harvard School of Public Health has done successfully for two decades in Senegal, where infection rates have remained stable at below two percent. Through sponsored projects, APIN is implementing prevention strategies that are tailored to each state, with the overall program guided by APIN's goals of working with Nigerian government, universities, and nongovernmental organizations and incorporating significant training and capacity building into all prevention efforts, including public education.
In February 2004, the director of APIN, Professor Phyllis Kanki, also became principal investigator of a U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) grant to help eradicate HIV in the world's hardest-hit regions. The grant is being used to expand antiretroviral therapy programs for HIV-infected people in Nigeria, Botswana, and Tanzania. The Nigerian portion of the program—called "APIN Plus"—is now bolstering the nation's antiretroviral program.
Through all these efforts, APIN remains committed to providing critical support aimed at strengthening both the leadership and scientific capacity needed to defeat Nigeria's AIDS epidemic.