Access Marathon: NIBUCAA, HACEY Provides Free HIV Tests for 2500 Persons

Mary Ekah

A coalition has partnered to promote messages on HIV prevention, counselling, testing and referrals to participants at this year’s Access Bank Marathon.

The Nigeria Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCAA) and HACEY Health Initiative with the support from Access Bank Plc joined forces to leverage on the yearly held global event and reached at least 2,600 people including athletes and communities along the race path.

The Executive Secretary, NiBUCCA, Gbenga Alabi also explained that the exercise sought to promote HIV prevention messages to over one million Nigerians via online and physical activities during the Access Bank marathon, as well as help provide a case study for private sector leadership to end HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

He said: “Significant progress has been made in the AIDS response since 1988, and today three in four people living with HIV know their status.

“But we still have miles to go, as the latest UNAIDS report shows, and that includes reaching people living with HIV who do not know their status and ensuring that they are linked to quality care and prevention services.”

Also speaking on the HIV sensitisation campaign, Project Director, HACEY Health Initiative, Isaiah Owolabi, noted that its health officials and volunteers will also make referrals and follow-up of up to 100 per cent population of beneficiaries in need of it.

Nigeria has the second largest HIV epidemic in the world, with 3.4 million people living with HIV in the country in 2014.

However, with increased investment in the AIDS response from Nigeria and its partners, the situation has improved in the past decade.
New HIV infections dropped from 310 000 in 2004 to 230 000 in 2014, and coverage of antiretroviral therapy increased from 13 per cent in 2011 to 22 per cent in 2014, providing more than 747 000 people living with HIV with access to life-saving medicine.

The UNAIDS recommend that HIV prevention efforts must be reinvigorated if the world is to stay on the Fast-Track to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.

The UNAIDS Prevention gap report shows that worldwide an estimated 1.9 million adults have become infected with HIV every year for at least the past five years and that the number of new HIV infections is rising in some regions.

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