By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
The Executive Secretary Kaduna State Aids Control Agency (KADSACA), Dr Neyo Iliyasu, has said that despite efforts to eliminate HIV/AIDS in the state, over 115,000 people are still living with the virus.
The ES, explained that out of the number which accounted for 1.1% of the state’s population, only 63,000 of them are on treatment due to severe challenges in the state.
Dr. Neyo, made the disclosure on Friday during a road walk with the State Deputy Governor, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, to commemorate the 2023 World AIDS Day with the theme “Let the Communities Live” and also to close the 16 days of activism to end Gender Based Violence.
According to him, “HIV is very prevalent in Kaduna State, Nigeria and the World at large. In Kaduna State, the Prevalence is 1.1% when translated to the population in the state it is one hundred and fifteen thousand people infected with the virus.
“Stigma is something that has to be stopped not only in Kaduna but all over the world. Because of its prevalence in Kaduna State, we are faced with the challenge of stopping it, but we have a target for 2030.
“Some people from Brinin- Gwari come to Kaduna for their treatment and medications. Even though there are interventions in Brinin-Gwari because of stigma and discrimination, people travel far to get these medications, treatment and support.
“Nobody should be in his/her closet, everyone should come together and ensure we support interventions, give out information and facts that will help stop stigma and discrimination against people living with Hiv. That way we will have more people being screened for the Virus and get the interventions and required treatment.”
In her remarks, the Deputy Governor, noted that HIV/AIDS is still a menace in the society and can be interpreted as something that would be violence against women and children.
“Please take this message of HIV to communities, neighbours, friends, everybody. We cannot fight this as individuals, we need to put our hands together, speak with one voice, be focused and remind one another each time that AIDS is still with us and we need to do something.
“If we do, everything we have laboured for will come to fruition. Thank you very much as you take this message of Gender Base Violence and HIV/AIDS prevention down to your various places.” She appealed.
On her part, Aisha Usman, Coordinator Muslim Women Living with HIV/AIDS in Kaduna, said the association currently houses over 400 women living with HIV and plenty orphan children living with the virus.
“Because of stigma not all women would like to come out for support group meetings. But those that come out we have about four hundred women in the support group.
“When you hear a child is HIV positive and that child is an orphan, the community doesn’t want to take care of the child, they allow the child to die.
“So at Al-Ummah support group, we have a home of Children living with HIV/AIDS, that means we adopted only children living with HIV/AIDS and the Ministry has being supporting us, Jam’iyyar Mata Arewa has being supporting us, Ministry of Health has being supporting us with the drugs, infact we’re all doing good.” She said.