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HIV/AIDS: Many Nigerians yet to know status, says group

File Photo: L-R: State Coordinator, AIDS HealthCare Foundation (AHF) Abuja, Dr Kema Onu, President, Brothers Across Nigeria Kubwa Chapter, Mr Olamide Tony Johnson, State Nursing Coordinator AHF Abuja, Mrs Christie Awunor and National Financial Manager, Brothers Across Nigeria Mr Adewale Odusanya during a night with young ones to Commemorate 2017 World AIDS day in Abuja.

A charity and social justice advocacy group, Brodas Across Nigeria, has urged Nigerians to test for HIV as the world commemorates AIDS Day this Saturday.

In a statement made available to this newspaper today, Wednesday November 28, the group said testing for the disease remained a challenge for the nation, and that this year commemoration would be a reminder for all citizens of the country to know their status, as the nation remains second most-burdened with the disease, worldwide.

In continuation of its activities on the HIV/AIDS, the group said it would collaborate with its chapters in Northern part of the nation, especially in Nasarawa state, to offer free HIV testing to residents of Keffi, this Saturday.

“1st of December every year is a day set aside internationally to commemorate World AIDS Day (WAD), it is a day when countries, development partners and non-governmental organizations come together to evaluate, re-strategize and commemorate with those living and affected with HIV/AIDS.

“The theme for this year’s WAD is ‘Know your Status’ and Brodas Across Nigeria (BAN) as a duly registered and responsible organization is determined to contribute to the HIV/AIDS campaign for all Nigerians to know their HIV status, as it remains the gate way to HIV prevention, care and treatment,” the organization said.

Brodas Across Nigeria has over the years collaborated with AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF) in the area counselling and testing and condom distribution.

According to the organization, the testing in Keffi will be carried out at Princess Sarah Hotel, besides Nasarawa state University, in partnership with AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and technical supports from United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), MTN and IsabiHIV Project.

The event, the group said, aims at using entertainment to educate and provide  avenue to reach young people through well-informed HIV/AIDS awareness messages, counseling and testing services, sexually transmitted infection screening and linkages to care and treatments for those that might test positive.

“The HIV/AIDS burden in Nigeria is of significance as Nigeria is said to have the second highest number of people living with the HIV virus in sub-Saharan Africa with an estimated three million people infected in the country. It is therefore a responsibility for all well meaning Nigerians to see this epidemic as a matter of public interest and begin to find ways to stem the tide of this disease burden before it gets the nations on it kneels.

“Though significant achievements have been made in the area of treatment, prevention of new infection, prevention of mother-to-child transmission but one major area of challenge is that of HIV testing. Many Nigerians still do not know their HIV status despite the efforts of the Government of Nigeria through National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) and other critical stakeholders by providing test kits and making the testing free in all government hospitals across the country…

“Secretary of BAN, Kubwa chapter, Mr. Abiodun Basil is optimistic that the partnership among the various chapters of BAN will help reach more people with HIV testing services. ‘’This is strategic partnership geared towards expanding BAN HIV/AIDS awareness and testing campaign initiative outside FCT and to also bring in more technical partners to serve humanity’’. Mr. Basil express optimism that at least 300 adolescent and young persons will be mobilized and will be reached with HIV counseling and testing services among other freebies that will be on offer on the day of the event,” the organization furthered

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