Written by Austine ELEMUE

Over 60, 000 persons live with HIV/AIDs in FCT

No fewer than 60, 000 persons are living with HIV/AIDs in the Federal Capital Territory, The Abuja Inquirer has learnt.

Statistics obtained by our correspondent from FCT Health Planning, Research and Statistics, Department shows that as at December 2017, FCT Agency for Control of AIDs had over 60,000 persons living with HIV that are receiving anti-retroviral  drugs in various FCT hospitals.

Dr. Uche Okoro, Project Manager, FCT Agency for Control of AIDs, who spoke on the development said HIV is no longer a death sentence but rather a chronic illness like diabetics and hypertension that requires continues management.

Speaking on the low level of HIV/AIDs awareness campaign in the territory, Okoro stressed that HIV response is dynamic, hence the strategies and approach in delivering HIV prevention services change over the time.

He added that the focus in the HIV response is to increase the knowledge of the populace on HIV prevention services accessible and acceptable to the various sub-populations in the territory.

According to Okoro, other sister agency such as the FCT Social Development Secretariat, SDS, has the mandate to provide succour to the indigent persons including people living with HIV/AIDs in the territory, noting that in March 2018, the Secretary, Social Development Secretariat provided seed funds for the indigent persons living with HIV to continue with their trades after skill acquisition trainings.

"And concerning anti-retroviral drugs, as at December 2017, we had over 60,000 persons living with HIV that are receiving drugs in FCT. The drugs are effective thereby increasing the life span of those living with HIV.

"In view of this, HIV is no longer a death sentence but rather a chronic illness like diabetics and hypertension that requires continues management.

"On the other hand, HIV response is dynamic, hence the strategies and approach in delivering HIV prevention services changes over the time. In a study carried out in 2013, the result showed that there was increase in the awareness of HIV infection among the populace in the FCT, but reduction in knowledge on HIV prevention methods.

"Therefore, our focus in the HIV response in FCT is to increase the knowledge of the populace on HIV prevention services accessible and acceptable to the various sub-populations in the territory". 

He noted that the placement of HIV prevention messages on the television, radio and print media are very expensive thereby making it difficult to compete with business adverts on these platforms, while calling on corporate organisations to assist the agency in this awareness campaign.

"We are therefore soliciting from the various media outfits as part of their corporate social responsibility to come up with reduced tariffs for all health related adverts for continuous placement for public interest. The funds saved from such advert placements could be channeled to the procurement of more HIV prevention commodities such as HIV Rapid Test kits and condoms," he affirmed. 

 

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