The Edo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (EDOSACA) has intensified awareness campaign among residents of rural communities against stigmatisation and discrimination of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).
Speaking at one of the events to commemorate the International AIDS Candlelight Memorial at the Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, in Esan West Local Government Area of the state, Executive Director, EDOSACA, Mrs Flora Oyakhilomen, said the state government is intensifying efforts to provide succour to those living with the ailment.
She noted that the prevalence rate for Edo shows a reduction from 4.1% from 1.9%, adding that the number of people infected with HIV is estimated to be 86,457, who are currently on treatment.
Oyakhilomen said the state government is willing and ready to collaborate with partners involved in the fight against the epidemic with a view to reducing HIV/AIDS prevalence rate to zero.
She said the Memorial Day is organised to serve as a community mobilisation platform to raise awareness and get people to get tested and know their status.
Wife of the chairman, Esan West LGA, Mrs Ann Aguenede, urged participants to join in taking the sensitisation campaign to every part of the area.
Dean of Students, AAU, Professor Don Akhilomen, urged people to embrace the reality and go for tests and counselling, adding that testing positive to the ailment is not a death sentence.
Meanwhile, at a similar event in Agenebode, Etsako East LGA, Mrs Oyakhilomien, said the Memorial Day is set aside to remember persons who died of HIV/AIDs, noting that a similar campaign will be held in Benin City, the state capital, on Sunday, May 19th.
Chairman, Etsako East LGA, Alhaji Aremiyau Momoh, urged EDOSACA to sustain the awareness campaign.