Akwa Ibom HIV Prevalence To Drop By Next NAIIS Survey – AKSACA PM

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By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo


There has been a renewed collaboration with key stakeholders to scale down HIV prevalence in Akwa Ibom State. Project Manager of Akwa Ibom State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (AKSACA), Dr Enobong Akpan has disclosed.
Dr Akpan, who expressed concern over the reflected 5.5 per cent prevalence in the state according to 2018 NAIIS report, said the renewed collaboration is part of the responses in achieving better services including prevention, testing and treatment of the HIV related disease.
Speaking  on Monday in Uyo during a media briefing being part of activities marking this year’s World AIDS Day commemoration, Dr Akpan assured of good times in the state where people will no longer shy away from coming out for testing.
“For us in Akwa Ibom, we are not just waiting to celebrate the World AIDS Day, we have designed a schedule of  activities, which will bring every stakeholder to brainstorm on the issue of health in Akwa Ibom, will address the gaps, seek ways to intervene on the gaps that have so far been identified in HIV response in the state.
“We want to assure the people that the good times are here. The days of people shying away from coming out for testing are over.“ Akpan, a medical doctor added.
On this year’s theme “Let The Community Leads”, the AKSACA PM emphasized that the drive to end HIV/AIDS is triggered by individuals responsiveness and participation in the fight against the epidemic.
He charged the populace to sensitize and create awareness in all the  communities for maximum result.
The Project Manager, who also called on the media to support the vision of the state government towards addressing the spread of the epidemic, stressed the need to educate the public on the various ways of contacting and preventing the HIV related disease just as eroding the beliefs associated with it.
He lauded the state government for the support towards the implementation of its programmes and also thanked the Implementation Partners as well as the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and the Association of Women Living with HIV/AIDS  in Nigeria for the collaboration and partnership in the state.
The Project Manager assured that the Anti stigma and Discrimination Bill and other related matters which was passed into Law by the State’s House of Assembly would soon be assented to by the Governor. 
In her remarks, the Coordinator of UNAIDS, Mrs Idayat Uthman, regretted that life is lost to AIDS every week with 4000 girls and young women being infected with HIV every week.
According to her, out of the 39 million people living with HIV, 9.2 million do not have access to life saving treatment,” pointing out AIDS could be ended by 2030 if communities lead the response.
“But communities are being held back in their leadership. Funding shortages, policy and regulatory hurdles, capacity constraints and crackdown on civil society and on the human rights of marginalized communities are obstructing the progress of HIV prevention and treatment services.
“If these obstacles are removed, community-led organisations can add even greater impetus to the global HIV response, advancing progress towards the end of AIDS.  This shows that investing in community-led HIV programmes deliver transformational benefits, it sets out how programmes delivered by community-based organisations in Nigeria were associated with an increased access to HIV treatment and HIV prevention service utilization.’’
Recall on October 27, 1988, the United Nations certified the yearly commemoration of World HIV AIDS Day from 1st December to support the people living with HIV/AIDS world wide
In Akwa Ibom State, activities lined up which will be a weeklong for this year’s commemoration that kick started on Sunday with a thanksgiving service held at The Apostolic Church, Uyo Field include visit to Corp Members, candle light procession and Community Led Awareness Creation/Sensitization Meeting for Women on HIV Prevention, ANC and GBV
Other activities for the event include condoms promotion and distribution with HTS in 3 High Burden Local Government – Uruan, Eket, and Ikot Ekpene of the 3 Senatorial Districts in the state; and a Symposium and finally on December 1 with the World AIDS Day Road Walk.

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