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The Role of Care and Treatment as Social Supports for People Living with HIV in Benin City, Nigeria

In 2008 alone, 2 million people died of HIV and AIDS-related illnesses worldwide. The Fifth National HIV and AIDS Conference which held from May 2nd to 5th in Abuja, Nigeria, reported the gaps that still exist in the care and treatment supports for people living with HIV (PLWA) in the country. This research which was carried out in Benin City, explores the role of care and treatment as social supports to people living with HIV (PLWA). It is an attempt to get the experiences, challenges and issues faced by PLWA, so as to inform policies and improve future care and treatment supports by all involved in the fight against HIV. The questions addressed are: what is the experience of people living with HIV with regard to care and treatment, how available and sustainable is the care and treatment supports and what impact has these made on the lives of PLWA? A qualitative approach based on non-probability sampling method was used to collect data from forty-five male and female PLWA respondents, whose average age was 40 years, using focus group discussions and one to one interviews.
The findings reveal that while there is an improvement in the supply of ARVs in the study area, there are challenges towards sustaining supply and managing existing programmes into the future. In addition, the results point out that the care and treatment needs of PLWA are enormous and so suggest that a multisectoral and an integrated approach in the mitigation effort against the impact of the HIV infection by stakeholders are needed. In addition, people living with HIV need to be economically empowered so that they can be self-reliant and productive in order to reduce the burden of care on the family, community and the country. Finally, the results also suggest that with adequate care and treatment supports for PLWA, they will live a more active, healthier and longer life which will boost the labour force and improve the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
Rose Mogun (2010)

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