The Red-Ribbon Coalition has kicked off a national advocacy campaign on HIV/AIDS, targeting about 40,000 Nigerians in multiple communities across eight high risk states in Nigeria.
The coalition is made up of the Red-Ribbon, Youth Empowerment Foundation (YEF), Society for Family Health (SFH), Development Communications Network (DEVCOMS) and convened by Coca-Cola, Nigeria.
The founder, YEF, Mrs Iwalola Akin-Jimoh, at a press conference in Lagos said, the World AIDS Day which was commemorated on Saturday, is a day globally set aside to provide an opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV.
“It is a day to show support for people living with HIV and to commemorate those who have died from an AIDS-related illness,” she added.
Akin-Jimoh said in 2014, the number of people estimated to be receiving Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) was 747,382 with 3.0 million adult populations estimated to be living with the disease in Nigeria.
Due to its population size, she said Nigeria has the second largest HIV disease burden in the world, with 3.2 million people living with the virus, after South Africa which has 6.8 million burden of the disease.
Speaking on this year’s advocacy campaign, Akin-Jimoh said the Red-Ribbon Coalition plans to target multiple communities across eight high risk states in Nigeria through a combination of activities which includes media awareness, voluntary counseling and testing, public education and awareness sessions.
Regional manager, SFH, Mrs. Funke Adewoyin said the target for this year is to reach over 40,000 people across Lagos, Oyo, FCT Abuja, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Gombe and Kano.
Adewoyin said activities to commemorate the World AIDS Day include a flag off at Aboki Ajah on Saturday, 1st of December, 2018, with SFH deploying counsellor testers to conduct HIV counselling and testing and a 2-week long voluntary counselling and testing session which began on Friday, 30 November 2018 and ends on Saturday, 15th December 2018.