By Oluwafunke Ishola
Lagos – Dr Monsurat Adeleke, Director-General, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), has restated the government’s commitment to increase strategic plan to achieve a significant reduction in the incidence rate of HIV infection in the state.
Adeleke said this on the sideline of a Sensitisation Awareness Walk and HIV Screening Exercise to mark the World AIDS Day in Lagos on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the programme was done in collaboration with the International Association of Lions Clubs, District 404B-2 Nigeria.
The World AIDS Day is celebrated yearly on Dec.1 globally, to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic caused by the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection, unite in the fight against HIV and show support for people living with HIV.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 37.9 million people are living with HIV as at the end of 2018.
The 2019 World AIDS Day celebration has the theme: “Ending the HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Community by Community’’.
Adeleke said that the state had sustained efforts and deployed resources through LSACA to reduce Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by leveraging a multi-sectoral approach to achieve prevention and control.
According to her, research has shown that over 50 per cent of the youth and adolescent population have a high burden of HIV.
She noted that targeting the youth in this year’s celebration showed government’s resolve to win the fight against HIV.
She said that increasing awareness and also promoting the Oral HIV Self-Testing Kit would enable users know their status in private, while reducing the fear of social stigma among the people.
Adeleke said that the state was making concerted efforts on improving the health system service delivery, scaling-up community response and maintaining sustained support of programmes.
According to her, the state received an award from the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) last week, for its dynamism in continually leading the HIV response in Nigeria.
Adeleke said that he state also launched HIV/AIDS Consortium to enhance response and treatment.
She said that the state would not relent in its efforts till it achieve a zero-new HIV incidence, saying that HIV was not a death sentence.
She urged the public to spread the message and not the virus.
Also, Lion Michael Eshiet, Chairman, HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign, Lions Club, said that the club was committed to intervening in health issues that would promote the health and well-being of citizens in the society.
He said that the club collaborated with the government in raising awareness, sensitising the public on prevention, to reduce the prevalence of HIV in the country.
“Since 12 noon, we walked from Ikeja Under Bridge and its environs to Police College, creating awareness on prevention, and letting people know that HIV is not a death sentence.
“There is a need for everyone to know their HIV status and commence treatment if infected. Being a carrier does not stop one from living a long, normal and productive life, ‘’ he said.
Eshiet commended the positive response of the public to receiving the condoms shared during the walk and the turnout for the HIV screening at Police College, Ikeja.