Wife of Oyo State Governor, Dr (Mrs) Florence Ajimobi, has called for collaborative efforts from all stakeholders in the state for a more holistic approach in tackling HIV/AIDS.
The governor’s wife, who is also the chairperson, Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (OYOSACA), made the call on Friday in Ibadan while declaring open a mass rally to commemorate the World AIDS Day.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World AIDS Day is held yearly across the world and it provides opportunity for people to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
It is also a day to show support to people living with HIV, remember those who have passed on as a result of HIV- related complications and to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among the general population.
NAN reports that the theme for 2017 World AIDS Day in Nigeria is “Right to Health-Making it Happen’”.
Ajimobi, who was represented by Mrs Rokanmi Orunmuyi, her Special Adviser on OYOSACA, described the day as one that allowed the state to review its progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
She said that there was need by all stakeholders to join the agency in the fight against HIV/AIDS, saying that it was the reason for the call on all to get tested and know their HIV status.
“It is in light of this that OYSACA is pursuing an agenda of living up to its statutory role as the coordinating agency for the AIDS response in the state by collaborating with relevant Ministries Department and parastatal Agencies (MDAs), private sector and partners,’’ she said.
The governor’s wife said that OYOSACA was also embarking on the procurement of drugs for treatment of opportunistic infections as well as consumables in support of the Antiretroviral Treatment programmes in their facilities.
.“We are also engaging in discussions with the Bank of Agriculture for the establishment of a Savings and Loans Scheme targeting people living with HIV, Civil Society Organisations, key populations and persons living with disabilities.
“This is to engage them in agricultural ventures for income generation, food security and jobs creation. The intervention will soon be rolled out,’’ she said.
In his remarks, Mr Obatunde Oladapo, the Executive Secretary of OYSACA, said that lack of information accounted for stigmatisation of people living with HIV.
Oladapo said that lack of adequate information was a major factor militating against the response to HIV in the society.
“An informed person will know that people living with HIV can live positive and meaningful life. The best way to fight HIV is for everyone to know his or her status, and they will be willing to get tested.
“They will be willing also to disclose their status and will not stigmatise persons living with HIV,” he said.
The executive secretary noted that an HIV positive person who access treatment and adheres to the Anti-retroviral drugs would have his or her viral load suppressed, thereby making the virus less active.
Also, Mrs Bukola Alabi, the State Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) decried the rate of stigmatisation across the state, adding that HIV was not a death sentence.
Alabi appealed to media houses to check the usage of debilitating words by some of their presenters, which she said was very rampant these days.
She commended the governor’s wife for her efforts at ensuring that people living with the scourge do that with dignity.
Similarly, Mr Seun Onifade, the Coordinator, Civil Society on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CISHAN), called on people to always treat those living with the virus rightly and with dignity.
He also decried the increasing rate of stigmatisation across the state and in the courts, stressing that people living with the challenges deserved to enjoy all rights as citizens of the country.
NAN reports that the event featured HIV test for people to know their HIV status, while HIV heroes award holds in the evening at Ibadan Business School. (NAN)