AS the World marks World AIDS Day today [01-12-17], Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has called for increased advocacy on the HIV/AIDS pandemic to eradicate stigmatisation and discrimination in the country.
Governor Okowa who made this call during a Live Radio and Television broadcast to mark the day, said that Delta State has about 78,359 persons living with the virus with a prevalence rate of 0.7% stressing that there was the need for an increased advocacy to reduce discrimination and stigmatization among the populace.
“According to the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Nigeria has over three million persons living with HIV. Furthermore, the HIV prevalence rate in Nigeria stands at 3.4%, here in Delta state, with an estimated population of over five million people, we have about 78,359 persons living with HIV. Of this number, 38,257 are eligible for treatment, while 28,000 are currently accessing the life-saving Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARV), which is 73% coverage in treatment.”, he said, stating that “Delta State HIV prevalence rate currently stands at 3.6% (among Ante-natal surveys), while the survey among the general population is 0.7%”.
“I enjoin all stakeholders to re-double their efforts at educating our people on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, as well as to take proactive steps at eradicating stigma and discrimination among the citizenry. It is a known fact that many people are generally aware of HIV/AIDS, but correct knowledge on how to prevent the infection is rather limited, due mainly to unfounded myths and outright denial of the reality of HIV/AIDS.”, Governor Okowa stated
Describing as very apt the theme for the 2017 World AIDS Day, ‘’Right to Health: Making it Happen.’, Senator Okowa appealed to all Deltans to endeavour to know their HIV status and also register “with the Delta State Contributory Health Scheme as a sure way of ensuring rights to quality health.
He assured deltans of government resolve to provide an enabling environment and support for HIV/AIDS activities in the state and called on the organized private sector, the multi-nationals and philanthropists to assist in filling the funding gaps so as to give the people renewed hope for tomorrow.