FG urges PLWHA to disclose status

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Persons living with HIV and AIDS (PLWHA) have been advised to disclose their status to their partners and other relevant authorities in order to curb the spread.

Dr Ijaodola Olugbenga, Head, National AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) Programme of the Federal Ministry of Health gave the advice in an interview in Abuja.

Olugbenga attributed the prevalence of the virus to lack of timely disclosure by the patients.

He frowned at the rating of Nigeria as the second largest country with the HIV burden worldwide.

He emphasised that the only way out of the spread of the virus was to break the barriers of self and timely disclosure.

According to him, lots of PLWHA ended up spreading the virus to innocent Nigerians, including their immediate families, thereby increasing the burden.

“The issue of self-disclosure is a great concern to us at the national level because a lot of studies and findings have revealed that we would do better if we can break the barrier of self-disclosure.

“But one thing we have identified is the issue of self stigmatisation.

“No matter the policy government put in place, people still have to come out with confidence to show the condition they are in and they are ready to fight it to the end.

“Self-disclosure is tie down with self stigmatisation, if we are able to break the barrier of self stigmatisation, we will be able to increase the level of disclosure across board, “he said.

Olugbenga noted that the Federal Government had commenced sensitisation programme across board and engagement with persons living with HIV/AIDS to break barrier.

He said through such engagements, they would serve as peer educators by informing the populace that having HIV/AIDS is not a dead sentence.

“We have started the process of capacity building and training of health workers where they are having services so that they can have good orientation of what is expected to provide good services to PLWHA.

“We will not relent or give up in the fight until we see that we have moved a long way as far as the issue of self-disclosure is concerned,” he assured. (NAN)

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