ABUJA – As part of efforts to stem the tide of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, a non-governmental organization, Brodas Across Nigeria (BAN) Kubwa chapter, in partnership with AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF), United Nations Population Funds (UNFPA) and Soul Lounge Event and Club Centre has reached out to young people with HIV awareness campaign including voluntary confidential HIV counselling and testing for residents of Kubwa community in Abuja.
President of the association in the community, Olamide Johnson, said the effort was part of activities to commemoratet the 2017 World AIDS Day.
Johnson said it was important to prioritize sensitizing and testing for the youths to defeat the disease. According to him, World AIDS Day, with the theme “Right To Health, Make It Happen” reiterates the need for federal government and other stakeholders to intensify efforts to tackle the spread of the disease.
“Many people still do not have information about HIV and AIDS at the moment and this has to be done because some of our adolescents are migrating into the youthful and risky age group. There is need to keep the awareness very high so as to prevent the spread of HIV virus.
“All kinds of people are vulnerable to HIV infection, so what we do as an association is to sensitize. We also distribute condoms, HIV testing and counselling is free, and we teach them how to use it properly, “he said.
He enjoined all stakeholders to galvanize efforts towards ensuring that the disease is eradicated, even as he advised other residents of the community to go for HIV/AIDS test.
He also called for attitudinal change towards the disease and advised the public to stop discriminating against persons living with the disease in order to reduce its spread.
Prevention Programme Coordinator for AHF, Christie Awunor, explained that prevalence of HIV in the country stands at 3.2 million persons and that only one out of three persons with the disease receives treatment.
Awunor said: “We can do better than this as a country because more affected persons are not on treatment care in Nigeria and as they are left out there, the more the disease continues to spread.”
She charged the Federal Government to allow funds meant for HIV/AIDs to get to the end users so that people can be treated and be well to fight the disease.
Awunor further explained that AHF is meant to test, treat, care and carry out advocacy against HIV/AIDS.
“We go to every communities within the six states (where we operate) in Nigeria, and our services are free within the country and other 39 countries of the world. We create awareness, and if anyone is found positive, we ensure that they are linked to care,” she said.
One of beneficiaries of the free testing, Brown Ifeoma, lauded the organization for the good gesture. He said some people don’t have access to go to the hospital for testing for HIV.
“This is an opportunity for them to get tested and get counselling on how to manage their health,” he said.