By Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
Benue State Aids Control Agency (BenSACA) disclosed on Tuesday that 184,745 people are currently living with HIV in the State, with 143,873 people placed on treatment.
The Acting Executive Secretary of the Agency, Dr Jacob Awodi, discloses this today during the occasion to mark this year’s World AIDS Day in Makurdi on the theme: “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility”.
Dr Awodi revealed further that HIV prevalence in Benue currently stands at 4.9 per cent as against the national prevalence of 1.4 per cent according to the National AIDS indication and impact survey – (NAIIS) of 2018.
While advising Benue citizens to be wary of the pandemic and be cautious to avoid further spread of the disease in the State, Awodi reiterated the determination of the State Government and the agency towards improving the systems and operations for effective and increased efficiency to curtail the spread of the virus.
On his part, the Supervising Commissioner of Health and Human Services, Dr Emmanuel Oyiwona, explained that the fight against HIV is multisectoral and Benue is in the forefront of the response, as it moves towards reaching epidemic control.
Oyiwona, who was represented by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Health and Human Services, Dr Jonathan Kur, expressed solidarity with the global world in tackling the two colliding epidemics of HIV and COVID-19 pandemic.
‘We must come together to see that the face of global health response change as no single country is safe until everyone is safe.’
On her part, wife of the Governor, Mrs Eunice Ortom, called on all hands to be on deck to stand in solidarity and ensure that the poor and vulnerable are linked to available services and people living with HIV are retained in care.
She noted that this would require a joint concerted effort of all stakeholders working closely with the government of Benue.
The Governor’s wife commended BenSACA, as well as other development partners such as APIN/CDC, UNAIDS, UNICEF, UNFPA, AHF, HEART ALLIANCE, Networks of people living with HIV and all others for their efforts.