The Alimosho General Hospital, Igando last Saturday conducted free Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test at Igando market in Lagos, as part of activities marking World AIDS’ Day.
While speaking on the theme of the campaign, tagged “Community makes the Difference” the Medical Director, Alimosho General Hospital, Dr. Madewa Adebajo, noted that World AIDS’ Day was aimed at increasing advocacy on proper management of HIV and creation of awareness on its spread.
He said, “But for a secondary facility as ours, it should not be a mere routine celebration since we are custodians of data related to its spread.”
Adebajo said the celebration was to harness contributions by support groups within the Alimosho community, consisting of 12,680 persons enrolled into care. He said that it was expected that by 2030, 95% of vulnerable groups must have been tested, 95% engaged on treatment and 95% on treatment achieve, viral suppression. According to him, these vulnerable groups include commercial sex workers, homeless people and those who share sharp objects.
In her remarks, Dr. Azeezat Abimbola Oyewande, a Senior Medical Officer with the Community Health Department of Igando General Hospital, stated that the goal of the celebration check for potentially infected people from the open market, while sensitizing them that technological advancement had eased off consequences of stigmatization or discrimination towards people living with HIV.
She said that stigma used to be an issue that makes people run away from being tested. She noted that it had eased off with open sensitization, free test, counselling and proper follow-ups.”
Oyewande noted that a number of infected persons do not divulge their status even to their spouses thereby increasing the risk of spread. She said, “There was need for enforcement of laws to stop discrimination and stigmatization.”
Also speaking at the event, former coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV and Head Counsellor, Community Health initiative, Mr Peter Obialor, said, the facility chose to extend the campaign to their immediate community.”
Obialor noted that in the past “People Living With HIV” (PLWH) experienced stigmatization. But as people become more aware of its mode of transmission, in addition, to not being a death sentence, are beginning to accept it.
He reinstated that by 2030, 95% of Nigerians would know their HIV status, 95% of those tested positive would be on medication, with 95% of those on medication, achieving suppressed viral load. “Once you are less than 20(cp/ml) on virus load, you cannot transmit such infection to anybody again,” he said.
“This outreach was targeted basically at ensuring adequate sensitization, through collaborative efforts of Living World Mission (LIWOM), as well as People Awareness on Health Foundation in Nigeria (PAHFIN) towards a successful celebration of 2019 World AIDS Day.