University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology To Open Care, Treatment Branch in Nigeria To Help Country Fight HIV/AIDS
The University of Maryland Institute of Human Virology plans to open an HIV/AIDS care and treatment branch in Abuja, Nigeria, to help the country fight HIV/AIDS, the AP/Baltimore Sun reports. Dr. Robert Gallo, the institute's director and co-discoverer of HIV, on Thursday announced the creation of the branch with Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R) and the two principal investigators for the project, Dr. William Blattner, director of IHV's Epidemiology and Prevention Division, and Nigerian-born virologist Dr. Alash'le Abimiku. Gallo plans to travel to Nigeria later this year to dedicate the facility and chair an HIV/AIDS symposium. The treatment and care mission of IHV-Nigeria will be funded by a $22 million CDC grant to the University of Maryland-Baltimore. The CDC funding comes from the five-year, $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Blattner said that the Nigerian branch will provide treatment and care to HIV-positive people, as well as training for health care workers, according to the AP/Sun. The Nigerian program will aim to treat about 15,000 HIV-positive Nigerians at six sites over the next year. Dr. Donald Wilson, dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said that the "health challenges related to HIV/AIDS in Nigeria mirror those in the city of Baltimore, so there is much to be learned and much to be shared" (AP/Baltimore Sun, 4/29).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.