By George Odok
Calabar, – Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River says the state will intensify efforts at reducing the high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the state.
The National AIDS Indicator Survey said the state has two per cent HIV/AIDS prevalence rate.
Ayade, who stated this on Sunday in Calabar during a walk to commemorate the World AIDS Day, said that the national rate was 1.9 per cent.
Ayade, represented by Dr Joseph Bassey, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, said that much was needed to reduce the percentage.
“This year, at the release of the National Indicator Survey, Cross River had a prevalence rate of 2 per cent. The National rate is 1.9 per cent.
“Cross River is not safe because we are surrounded by states that have high prevalence. We also have the risk of the Cameroonian refugees that are coming in with their own addition.
“Cross River is not safe; even though it is 2 per cent, we are asking everybody in the community to wake up because what affects the community affect the state and nation.
“Let everyone know that it is only us that can make the difference; that is why the 2019 theme is `Communities Makes the Difference’,” he said.
He urged residents of the state to contribute their quota towards reducing the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS in the state to less than one per cent in the next survey.
Dr Ekpo Ekpo-Bassey, a lawmaker in the state House of Assembly, said consistent advocacy and sensitisation had greatly reduced the prevalence of the disease in the state.
According to him, more is needed to be done in other to have zero prevalence in the state.
“Cross River is looking at achieving zero per cent prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS. This walk is very important and we must take the message to our people that are not here,” he said.