Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) says it has screened over 7000 people across Benue State for HIV and AIDS in the last one week.
Site Coordinator of AHF in Benue, Dr. Joseph Shuaibu who disclosed this on Thursday during the International Condoms Day celebration held at the Mechanic Village in Kanshio, Makurdi said of those who were screened, only between one and two percent tested positive to HIV.
“Over 7000 people have been reached in Benue State for HIV testing in the last one week as part of build up to the grand finale of the Int’l Condoms Day celebration today. HIV testing is what AHF has been doing over the years. Even right here, testing is still ongoing as you can see so that people can have access to HIV testing and counseling.
“Of the 7000 that have been tested, a lot of them are HIV negative but just about one to two percent of them are positive and those positive ones have been linked to care and have been placed on lifelong ART because AHF supports a lot of health facilities around both in Makurdi and other local government areas where we work.
“One of the gateways to HIV prevention is first of all through testing. You need to know your status first before you know what next action to take whether to try to prevent yourself from contracting the virus or if you are already positive, get link to care and get placed on lifelong ART and then live positively thereafter.”
Shuaibu who explained that this year’s theme; “Safer Sex is Fun” is very apt, noted that the International Condoms Day is a day set aside to increase awareness on the benefit of the correct and consistent use of condoms.
“Condoms have been in use since ancient times and it has dual benefits because it serves both as contraceptive and it also prevents the transmission of both HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
“The significance is to use the day to create more awareness because it seems like although people have heard or known about condoms, not so many people have access to condoms and not so many of them are aware of how to correctly use condoms as well as the benefit of consistent use.
“So, today, we are not just creating the awareness but also providing them with condoms so that they can have free access so that there will be increase of the use of condoms,” he stated.