AS part of events to commemorate the 2017 World AIDS Day, the Oyo State State Agency for the Control of Aids (OYSACA) is set to test about 12,700 persons across the 33 local government areas in the state, for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Chairperson, OYSACA, Chief Florence Ajimobi who disclosed this on Thursday, said the HIV test will be conducted for children in orphanages, barbers, tailors, hairdressers and NURTW members at their different state offices.
Represented by Executive Secretary OYSACA, Mr Obatunde Oladapo, Ajimobi said the spread of HIV in the state will be curtailed if everyone was involved in advocacy and shunned stigmatization.
While noting that it was the right of everyone living with HIV to be placed on treatment, Ajimobi lamented the challenge of the dearth of resources for effective treatment.
“Testing is important to put an end to HIV. Stopping HIV transmission is feasible. If everyone is tested and those that test positive are treated and sustained on treatment, they cannot infect other people.
“Everybody on treatment needs to be sustained on treatment to the extent of attaining undetectable viral load. By so doing, such an individual cannot infect another person with HIV,” Ajimobi said.
According to her, the recent pronouncement by NACA Director-General that 200,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS in Oyo State were an estimate arrived at based on Oyo State HIV prevalence rate and population.
“The message in that statement is that everybody should be tested so that every person with HIV will know, and those that test positive can access treatment,” Ajimobi said.
Especially, she urged media practitioners to shun derogatory description of people living with HIV, noting that there was a treatment for the virus to be suppressed.
Oyo State Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Bukola Alabi decried the high level of HIV/ AIDS stigmatisation, saying HIV is treatable just like other diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
According to her, with stigmatisation, many people will not disclose their HIV status, but continue to spread the virus.