The Executive Secretary, Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, (CISHAN), Walter Ugwuocha, on Thursday said that 46, 000 persons are undergoing treatment for HIV/AIDS infection in Kogi State.
Ugwuocha who was speaking during the North Central Zonal launching of the National HIV/AIDs self-testing campaign flag-off/, noted that, there are other 31, 000 persons who are yet to be tested for the virus.
The Executive Secretary, said as at the last count, 1.9 million persons are living with the virus in the country, while another 1.1 million are undergoing treatment
He added that the country is currently testing 11 million persons yearly, which he said is not enough if the country must achieve the all 95% success in testing, treatment and reduction in viral loads by 2030.
According to him, “Nigeria is presently working with other global communities to ensure that no fewer than 95% testing, treatment and reduction in viral loads by 2030”.
He explained that HIV self-testing aims to eliminate the problem of stigmatization, thereby encouraging more citizens to know their HIV/AIDS status.
The Executive Secretary said the good news is that the federal government would put in 50,000 self-testing kits and urged the state and local government areas in Kogi State to key into the process.
In her remarks, the state coordinator of CISHAN, Christy Abayomi said everybody must be involved in the fight against the pandemic, adding that, to achieve meaningful results, government at all levels must take the lead.
She said, the need to aggressively tackle this scourge has become very imperative during this COVID-19 as those that are mostly affected by the pandemic are those with underlying disease like HIV/AIDS.
According to her, the self-testing awareness campaign and sensitization would help to eliminate the idea of discrimination and stigmatization.
The secretary to Kogi State government, (SSG), Dr. (Mrs), Folashade Ayoade Arike, while receiving the group in her office, promised that the state government would continue to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure that more of the citizens are tested for the virus.
The SSG who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in charge of Administration and Special Duties, Alhaji Idris Idakwoji, assured that the office of the SSG as the engine room of all government will support the programme to succeed.
In his contribution, the North Central coordinator, Hamza Aliyu said because of the strategic position of Kogi State, boarding over nine States, there is need to handle the issue of HIV/AIDS very seriously.
He called on the state government to invest in the testing of it’s citizens, particularly through the procurement of the self-testing kits to make it accessible to the people.