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03 December 2018, 06:39 | Rodolfo Wallace
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HIV testing is essential for expanding treatment and ensuring that all people living with HIV can lead healthy and productive lives. To make matters worse, estimates indicate that only 75% of people with HIV know their status.
The Federal Government on Saturday stressed the need for all Nigerians to know their HIV status, saying there's enough drugs and plans to cover the free treatment of all who test positive to the virus.
Only eight percent of the population has been tested for HIV or AIDS.
Chairman, Governing Board of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Mrs Pauline Tallen, gave the assurance at the flag-off of a medical outreach to IDPs in Kuchingoro camp Abuja in commemoration of this year's World AIDS Day with the theme; "Know Your Status". Sex workers and their clients, transgender women and people who inject themselves with drugs are also disproportionately affected by HIV.
She listed stigma and discrimination as factors still deterring people from taking an HIV test adding that access to confidential HIV testing was aslo an issue of concern.
"I call on countries to use the new HIV testing strategies and to choose a strategic mix of service delivery models to achieve universal and equitable access to HIV testing and counselling".
"Even though it is not one hundred percent certain, many youths feel if they use protection when having sex with an infected person, they will not get the virus", she said.
- Every week, nearly 7,000 young women aged between 15 and 24 are infected with HIV.
HIV testing programmes must be expanded.
In addition to the expansion of testing services, PAHO advocates for the provision of both post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for those who may have been exposed to HIV, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to those at substantial risk of infection as part of the comprehensive package of HIV prevention services.
On its 30th anniversary, the World AIDS Day campaign reminds us that we should not become complacent in our response to HIV.
Lagos State commissioner for youth and social development, Agboola Dabiri, made the appeal during HIV/AIDS awareness talk in Agege, Lagos.
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