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AIDS HEALTH FOUNDATION (AHF) calls on Nigerians to help keep the Promise on AIDS

By Yetunde Verissimo -The Nigerian Voice, Abuja
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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation(AHF), a non profit organization, which provides HIV prevention services, testing, and healthcare for HIV patients, has called on the Federal government and all Nigerians alike to work together to keep the promise on HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Kema Onu, clinical coordinator, AHF (Abuja) made this call at a one day HIV/AIDS rural awareness and sensitization program to commensurate the 2016 World AIDS day, which was held in Kuje Area Council, in Abuja, on Friday

He said AHF in partnership with every Nigerian wants to keep the promise to end the scourge of HIV in the country. This he believes can be done through it's prevention and reaching zero statistics on discrimination, death related to HIV/AIDS.

While the global theme for the 2016 World Aids day is "hands up for HIV prevention". In Nigeria however the theme is "hands on for HIV prevention"

Dr. Onu explained that out of the 3.5million persons living with HIV In Nigeria, a higher rate of which women between the ages of 14-24 years are infected, only about seven hundred thousand of the total are on treatment and AHF in partnership with Nigerians must find a way to close the 27 percent gap by ensuring proper treatment which would reduce the rate of transmission of the disease.

He said the 2016 World Aids day celebration would focus more on women between the ages of 14-24 as a means of prevention and control of the disease.

"Another form of prevention is that we must focus strategies to stopping those social cultural practices such as early marriage, sexual abuse, and others that making young women and girls more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS." He said.

At the sensitization program, Hon. Duda Tanko, vice chairman kuje area council who represented the council chairman, said the awareness would give an opportunity to remove the fear and stigmatization on HIV and AIDS in the local community.

"Today the opportunity is here again for us to anchor and discuss extensively the scale up activities of HIV awareness program in Kuje Area Council and how we can leverage on that to achieve outstanding zero new infection, zero death due to HIV and zero discrimination."

Tanko further said the level of awareness in the surrounding rural communities was very low compared to central Kuje community and would very much like the NGO's to continue their good works and look into such areas in the Local Government. He asked residents to get tested and know their status.

He complained of the insufficient supply of drugs and preventive measures present in the Area council and said the FG was working towards ensuring proper circulation in the near future.

Hon. Tanko expressed his gratitude to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AFH) and all other NGO's for their fight against the scourge and the continous awareness and support to the residents of the local government.

Also at the event, Rosemary Adejo Adaji, the Program Officer for Women Friendly Initiative(WFI), one of the Organization present at the awareness campaign, said that there was need to continually sensitize people in the rural community, this she said was due to the high level of discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDs. She asked members of the community to put a stop to stigmatization saying that the disease was and is not a death sentence.

She further explained that the lack of drugs and treatments in primary health care centers in the LG is a source of hindrance to sensitization and proper treatment/ maintenance of HIV. And called on the Federal government to make the drugs more available for treatment.

Bilikisu Aliyu, a resident of kuje area council said the fear of stigmatization was one the major factors stopping people from knowing their status.