Access Bank Lagos City Marathon Partners Hacey to Provide Awareness on HIV/AIDS

Gbenga Sodeinde 

The organisers of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon has partnered with a leading non-governmental organization, Hacey, to provide awareness and support for people based on their HIV/AIDS status and also provide necessary details on how to manage the risk factors. 

Hacey, a developmental health organisation that focuses on improving the health and productivity of underserved people, especially women in Nigeria, is present at the Marathon finish line, Eko Atlantic City. Hacey is providing support and free HIV/AIDS tests for athletes. 

The programme lead of Hacey, Mr Bamidele Oyewumi, said the programme targets to reach out to over 10,000 runners, providing them information about the HIV/AIDS and its management.

“For this year, we are in partnership with the organisers of the marathon to provide and implement a free HIV screening for the marathoners. One of our major goals is to ensure that one third of the marathoners know their status.

“The theme of this year’s race is `Run to End HIV’ because according to available statistics, HIV/AIDS is growing rapidly among young people because of their increasing sexual activities.

“While sexual activities is on the increase, the reproductive health education is not meeting up with the numbers; so we are using this means to sensitize the people on how to stop the trend, ” he said.

Oyewumi also said that the programme would target over 85 per cent of the runners providing them with first hand information on how to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.

“We want the larger percentage to get tested to know their status and arm them with information about everything they need to know about the deadly disease HIV/AIDS.

“People need to know how they can also contract HIV/AIDS apart from sexual activities, of which includes blood transfusion, blood screening, inappropriate handling of sharp objects among others.

“We also supply materials containing information about HIV/AIDS for information about all they need to know. Those with HIV/AIDS are sometimes more healthy if they follow their health regime properly.

“HIV/AIDS positive people can participate in the marathon and we even want to encourage them to run, because they are sometimes healthier than those that are negative because of their antiviral drugs that they are using,” he said.

Also speaking, the Executive Director of HACEY, Rhoda Robinson, said the organization has been leading the fight to end HIV/AID for decades and a lot has been achieved but that a lot still needs to be done, adding: “Over the decades, we have been leading the fight against HIV/AID and we had a lot of success but we still have a long way to go. 

“We must continue to ensure that people are aware that it still exists and that HIV is preventable and manageable. The first step to end it is for people to know their status and that’s why we are holding this campaign, offering free HIV testing and counselling to ensure that everyone knows their status, they know the right steps to take and if they are positive, how to live a healthy and positive live.”

Rhoda advised people to know their status and take responsibility for their risk factors to ensure a healthy lifestyle.

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