80 million Nigerians to be tested for HIV

The National Agency for Control of Aids has said the
Federal Government has commenced free HIV counselling, testing and
medical outreach in the Federal Capital Territory as well as Niger,
Enugu, Bayelsa, Anambra and Delta states.

The agency, in partnership with the Subsidy Reinvestment and
Empowerment Programme, said the programme was a component of the
Presidential Comprehensive Response Plan to test 80 million Nigerians
for HIV between 2014 and 2015.

The plan, NACA said, would also provide HIV treatment to an additional 600,000 HIV positive patients across the country.

In Bayelsa, one of the states in the first phase of the exercise,
NACA and SURE-P on Wednesday commenced the free HIV counseling, testing
and medical mission with the target to cover 6,000 beneficiaries.

Speaking at the opening ceremony at Igbogene community in Yenagoa,
Dr. Okorie Gideon, Focal Person at Programme Coordination Unit of NACA
said that the team would render free medical services for the next four
days in two communities in Bayelsa.

He reiterated that the agencies, in line with the PCRPP, were poised test 80 million Nigerians for HIV between 2014 and 2015.

Also speaking, Head of SURE-P unit of NACA, Dr, Rosemary Adu, said
that NACA was working at reducing new HIV infections and combating
stigmatisation of HIV infected persons.

Adu noted that some 1,000 persons had so far been tested for HIV and
provided medical care for other health conditions such as malaria,
hypertension and diabetes.

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs. Biboere Gabriel, commended the Federal Government for the free medical scheme.
She urged the organizations to sustain the exercise to reach out to other parts of Bayelsa.

Also, Mr. Bright Kaghor, who benefitted from the medical service,
said he received treated mosquito net as well as medications after
seeing a medical doctor.

Paramount ruler of Igbogene, Chief Adike Green, hailed NACA and
SURE-P for bringing free medical care to the community, noting that
going beyond HIV was a strategy to combating the stigma associated with
the scourge.

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