Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
In order to beat the set target of the vision 90:90:90 come the year 2030 in the fight against HIV/AIDS, about1.2 million people have been tested in the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and Bwari area council.
This was revealed by Comfort Ochibo, a senior technical officer for AMAC from the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN) at a free testing point in Wuse Market, Abuja.
She said the institute was working in close relationship with the 2016 World AIDS Day theme, ‘Hands on Prevention’ and is doing a lot of awareness creation concerning the HIV virus and ensuring that at least 90 per cent of Nigerians know their status and those that tested positive are immediately counselled and placed on ARVs.
Ochibo said while statistics showed that more women were tested more for the virus in comparison to men, because it is a test carried out during ante-natal, the reverse is now the case as more men can be seen coming out for the test.
”We are making so much effort to ensure that we create awareness in our communities because we are targeting the communities with testing. We have tested over 1.2 million people in both AMAC and Bwari of FCT and we are still doing a lot of awareness creation and for the theme of this year which is ‘Hands on Prevention’. Because we know if we are able to prevent HIV/AIDS, it will do a lot to ensure that our economy is built up because we need the human resource to build our economy.”
“It used to be in the reverse where the women get tested more especially during pregnancy. But as it is now, the men are coming out in large numbers than usual. So we are encouraging everyone, both men and women to come out and know their status.
“Stigma and discrimination has placed a deafening role in the lives of our people in the past but as it is, a lot is being done in raising the awareness of people and making them understand that they don’t need to be shy. It is the theme of the day that everyone should know his/her status. So Nigeria has gone to that level where there is enough being done in creating awareness.”
She further called on the government to come up with initiatives that will open access because without the government, “implementing partners will not have the enabling environment to reach out to the people.” She said this can be achieved when more funds are committed to the cause.
Joy Okeke, a student from the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, who was among those tested, said the test was a delight and should be looked forward to by those who want to plan their lives well and know if they are progressing or not. She said ladies, especially, should not be afraid of the test as it is not a death sentence.