Kwara is one of the states with the lowest rate of HIV infection in the country, ‎the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, has said.
NACA’s Chief Program Officer, Mr Tajudeen Arowolo, stated this at the opening of a four-day Free Medical Outreach organised by the agency at Oja Tuntun, Boboko in Ilorin.
He noted that the North-Central geo-political zone has the highest number of recorded cases of HIV.
According to him, “This is because of the high cases recorded in Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa States, as well as the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. Out of the states in the North-Central, Kwara has the lowest rate of HIV cases and one of the lowest in the entire country.”
He said NACA has carried out similar free medical outreach in many states of the federation with huge success, adding that it screened, tested and gave results to 4,441 people in Kogi State out of the 5,000 targeted people.
Arowolo added that out of the 4,441 people that were tested, only 19 women tested positive to the disease. The CPO said they were immediately referred to health facilities nearest to their residence to commence free treatment.
He said there had been remarkable decrease of HIV cases in Nigeria as a result of NACA’s regular outreach programmes. According to him, NACA’s constant awareness campaign and sensitisation have helped in controlling the spread of the disease in the country.
Arowolo attributed the success of the outreach to the strategies adopted by NACA, one of which he said was the inclusion of free medical treatment for other illnesses like malaria, cough and blood sugar level.
He also said that all nursing or pregnant women that came for the test and treatment would be given free mosquito nets treated with insecticide. Arowolo said 5,000 people were expected to come forward for the free test and medical treatment in Ilorin.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Good Health Educators Initiatives, Mr. Ibrahim Umoru, appealed to all Nigerian adults to endeavour to know their HIV status.
Umoru, one of the facilitators of the programme, said Nigeria has the second highest burden of HIV globally.
He noted that counselling and testing for HIV was one of the entry points for HIV intervention, stressing that Nigerians performed low in this regard.
Umoru stated that only about seven million Nigerians know their HIV status out of over 170 million people in the country.
“People should come out to be tested. Gone are the days when testing for HIV meant a death sentence. Today, it is a manageable disease if it is discovered early enough before it becomes full blown AIDS,” Umoru added.
Project and Monitoring Officer, Kwara State Action for the Control of AIDS, KWASACA, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abubakar, said the prevalence of the disease in Kwara has reduced drastically.
Abubakar, however, attributed this feat to KWASACA’s sustained advocacy, sensitisation and awareness campaign against the disease and its management.

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