As part of activities to commemorate the 2018 World AIDS Day, The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), is set to provide free HIV screening to about 50, 000 Nigerians in Abuja, Anambra, Cross River, Kogi, Benue and Nasarawa State, and also distribute free 300, 000 condoms in these states.
According to Dr. Echey Ijezie, Country Program Director of AHF, ‘‘this is consistent with the mandate of AHF to support and contribute to the eradication of HIV/AIDS out of Nigeria through supporting the effort of the Nigerian government through the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).’’
Similarly, the foundation will be providing free condoms to partner CBOs, CSOs, Networks and Associations to support their outreach efforts for the World AIDS Day commemoration.
In Abuja, FCT, AHF is collaborating with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to provide:
Condom and sanitary pad distribution
Blood glucose check & counselling
Blood pressure check & counselling
This is aside the mobile community film screening at Mpape, a suburb of Abuja where free sanitary pads will also be distributed to indigent girls as well as carry out free HIV testing in the community.
Dr, Echey Ijezie maintained that the strong testing drive by AHF for the World AIDS Day is in sync with the global theme of the day: Know Your Status, ‘’which is remarkable given the poor attitude to HIV testing in our society and reminds stakeholders of the need to keep promises made on AIDS.’’
To be sure, globally and in-country, there are several millions of people who are HIV positive and do not know their status. With Nigeria having the second largest HIV epidemic in the world and one of the highest rates of new infection in sub-Saharan Africa, it has become important to get people to test, to know their HIV status.
According to UNAIDS, around two-thirds of new HIV infections in West and Central Africa in 2017 occurred in Nigeria. UNAIDS is reporting that few adolescents test for HIV regularly in Nigeria. In 2017 according to the global AIDS agency, only 2% of males between 15 and 19 and 4% of females had tested for HIV in the last 12 months.
Across AHF six states, the teams are stationed strategically in different parts of the states to offer free HIV counselling and testing.