WITH population of about 2 million and with a prevalence of 3.8 percent, about 76, 000 persons are infected with HIV /AIDS in Bayelsa State, says the acting director general, Bayelsa State Agency for the Control of AIDS, BYSACA, Mr. Oregade Ileimokumo E. Speaking to newsmen shortly after the jogging exercise which had Governor Seriake Dickson in attendance at Peace Pack, Yenagoa, the ADG said the day was meant to raise public awareness HIV and AIDS. He said World AIDs day is commemorated every year on December 1 to encourage progress in HIV /AIDS prevention, care, treatment and support to people living with the disease and to also commemorate with people who had died of AIDS. Speaking on the theme, ‘Hands Up for HIV Prevention,’ Ileimokumo said “the most recent report by Federal Ministry of Health 2014 had it that HIV prevalence was 3.8 percent, compared to the national 3.0 percent. “Bayelsa State with population of about 2 million persons and with a prevalence of 3.8 percent, about 76, 000 persons are infected with HIV/AIDS; and also if you are infected then you are affected, because they are all brothers, sisters, spouses, staff and neighbours; this also calls for hands up for HIV prevention. “Prevention is the key to achieving success in the fight against HIV /AIDS. Prevention actually starts with HIV testing services (counselling and testing), which is the entry to receiving any treatment, care and support, and expand program for people living with HIV /AIDS. “In record only small percentage of Bayelsans know their HIV status, have complete knowledge of HIV transmission and use condom during non-marital sex. “HIV counselling and testing centres are in our public (government) and private health facilities and drugs are also accessed in these facilities for free. So anyone of your choice, proximity wise or not services are being rendered,” the DG said. Bayelsa State government, ministries, agencies, departments, non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, faith based organisations, implementing partners and other health officials came out in their numbers to celebrate the day.


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