WORLD AIDS DAY: OYSG CAMPAIGNS AGAINST STIGMATISATION
.CALLS FOR REGULAR TESTING
The Oyo State Government has called on residents of the state not to stigmatise people living with HIV/AIDS, noting that the government would not hesitate to take action against individuals, groups, employers or anyone caught in such act in accordance with the provisions of the State’ anti-HIV/AIDS stigmatisation laws.
The state’s Commissioner for Health, Dr Oluwaserimi Ajetunmobi, made the call on Monday at a programme organised to commemorate the World AIDS Day, held in Ago -Amodu, Saki -East Local Government Area of the state.
She maintained that the World AIDS Day 2023, with the theme, “Let the communities lead,” is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made to date, to raise awareness about the challenges that remain, to achieve the goals of ending AIDS by 2030 and to mobilise all stakeholders in the state to jointly redouble their efforts.
Dr Ajetunmobi added that it is important for everyone to get tested every six months to know their status stressing that testing negative today does not guarantee perpetual negativity.
She said: “I want to use this medium to encourage everyone to take advantage of the HIV testing services being offered in over 1,600 health service delivery points across the 33 Local Government Areas of the state to know their HIV status.
“Testing opportunities are provided during our special events, such as Maternal-Newborn and Child Health Week and Tuberculosis Testing Week.
“Today’s commemoration of World AIDS Day offers those of us present here today an opportunity for testing, as HIV testing and other tests and services are currently ongoing in our stands within this venue.”
She also encouraged those that tested negative to maintain their status by following well-known preventive measures and adopting responsible sexual practices such as abstinence, faithfulness to their partners and protected sex.
She also called on residents of the state to also be mindful of other exposures to HIV/AIDS through sharing of needles and other sharp objects and receiving care and blood transfusions from unsafe sources.
She, therefore, advised pregnant women to take advantage of the HIV prevention services available in all the facilities in the state through the ante-natal clinics.
“This is important to allow them to have a safe delivery of children who would be free from HIV and other childhood health conditions,” she added.
Speaking on the prevalence of the HIV/AIDS in Oyo State, Dr Ajetunmobi said it has progressively declined over the years, and that Oyo State is on course towards achieving the UNAIDS targets of ensuring that at least 95 per cent of people with HIV are detected and are aware of their status by the year 2030.
She added that within the same period, 95 per cent of those whose status is known are to be placed on treatment, and that 95 per cent of those on treatment would be virally suppressed.
She noted: “Currently, it is estimated that 44,973 individuals are living with HIV in Oyo State. About 96 per cent of these individuals are now aware of their status. We have successfully placed about 40,000 of these individuals on treatment.
“We were able to record these achievements due to the painstaking efforts of the State Government with the strong collaboration of our partners.
“In all of these, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr ‘Seyi Makinde, is ever committed to ensuring an HIV-free state through the provision of both human and physical infrastructure that will not only assist the health workers to deliver quality HIV services but will also create an enabling environment for our partners to operate.
“Today’s World AIDS Day was brought to Saki East Local Government Area because we felt there is a need to reach our communities.
“The theme for this year’s World AIDS Day is “Let the Community Lead.” When we came here, we saw that we have a community with which we can work together to support the fight against HIV/AIDS and more so because the prevalence of HIV/AIDS happened to be on the rise in the time past in Saki Zone.
“That is why we deemed it fit to come here so that we can sensitise our people to get tested and be treated.”
The commissioner assured the people of Saki East Local Government that the administration’s resolve to renovate and equip Primary Health Care facilities remained on course.
Earlier in her welcome address, the chairman, Saki East Local Government, Alhaja Ramat Adeniran, who was represented by her Chief of Staff, Alhaji Najimudeen Abdulahi, advised the youths to always abstain from sex, while urging couples to remain faithful to their partners.
Also in their separate goodwill messages, the chairman of the Saki East Local Government Traditional Council and Onisanbo of Ogbooro, His Royal Highness, Oba Adegboye Adio and the supporting partner, AIDS Prevention Initiative in Nigeria (APIN), Dr Olajide Olalere, lauded the state government for giving priority to the welfare of its people.