To mark the 2017 World AIDS Day, the Red Ribbon Coalition has taken an enlightenment campaign to 20 communities, where over 30,000 Nigerians were screened and educated on prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.
Addressing journalists during a media parley organised by the coalition in Lagos recently, the HIV Cascade of Care Specialist, Society for Family Health (SFH), Mr. Emmanuel Olaoti noted that the coalition was shouldering the need for accessing quality treatment and providing up-to-date information about HIV/AIDS to the people.
“We are working towards ensuring 90 per cent of Nigerians know their HIV status and for those who are positive, we are enjoining them to enroll for treatment programmes.
“HIV is not a death sentence. Many Nigerians do not have accurate information about the virus, which is part of why awareness in all methods of communication, including social media must be utilised,” he said.
As a mother who is concern about unhealthy sexual intercourse among youths, the Executive Secretary, Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF), Mrs. Iwalola Akin-Jimoh stressed that young people must be given access to information concerning the disease.
“We need to feed them with information because what causes pregnancy which is sexual intercourse also can lead to HIV/AIDS. So it’s important to address these issues using all forms of activities like; football, drama, concerts, among others.
Speaking on stigmatisation and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS, the Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola West Africa, Mr. Osita Abana enjoined Nigerians to embrace those affected.
“At Coca-Cola, we are working in partnership with strong stakeholders to ensure that we drive messages about HIV/AIDS. We believe we can’t just be a company that only sells drinks because businesses can only strive in a healthy society. We can’t do business where there is high mortality.”
Lending his voice, the Executive Director, Good Health Educators Initiative (GHEI), Mr. Ibrahim Umoru noted that there are numbers of Nigerians living with HIV/AIDS who do not have access to quality treatment.
Umoru charged public office holders to fight the course of government providing and supporting victims of HIV/AIDS in accessing quality treatment and ensuring affordability.
“We need the media to take the message of stigmatisation and discrimination of people living with HIV/AIDS to every Nigerian,” he added.