Peoples Digest Online – HIV/Aids campaign responses is been centered on human rights and equity since the very beginning of the epidemic. The communities have immensely been the focus, the very foundations upon which universal health coverage has been built.
This epidemic has been battled over the years and it has become most vulnerable and marginalized to communities and individuals that are worst affected.
Since the epidemic is evident in communities with high population, the risk of HIV threats in such high population areas should be the centre of any response and as the case may be, campaign against stigmatization.
This is the bases for the World’s Aids Day Celebration around the world. It was a similar story in Lagos State, Nigeria which was celebrated on the 1st Day of December. Organizations and Associations came out in masses to campaign against the stigmatization that comes with HIV/Aids. The Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, department of Community Health and Primary Health Care (LASUTH), the Lagos State University College of Medicine (LASUCOM) and Medical Woman Association of Nigeria (MWAN) collaborated with the Computer and Applied Product Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) on creating awareness to ensure her association members and the general public and customers in the Computer Village axis understands the importance of the day. With the topic “My HEALTH, My RIGHT” the awareness team members walked the length and breadth of the marketplace and informed the public on reasons why every individual should keep a good eyes on their health as it is their RIGHT to be healthy.
The computer village as a market place with CAPDAN overseeing all of her activities had a lecture, delivering a keynote address by there President, Mr Akin Ojikutu admonishing delegates from the MWAN, LASUTH and LASUCOM to collaborate on effect to supply more informative platform for its members in their places of work, this he said at the CAPDAN Secretariat building on Medical Road in Ikeja where attendants were hosted.
According to the statistics available from the WHO, 36.7 million people living with HIV have slowly increased to about 40 million between the period of December 2016 and December 2017. This shows a minimal increase in the infection rate compared to previous years. Out of this figure, about 2 million children have been infected. Today 21 million people are receiving antiretroviral therapy that is enabling them to live full and productive lives. Every day, fewer people are becoming infected with HIV and fewer people are dying.
The impact of this awareness program is to ensure that the general public can know their status early which is more likely to help infected individuals become informed and keep the spread of the virus under control by going through the test now. It is advised that this be carried out every 6 months. Free testing equipment and materials were made available within the market place and it is for as many people to take a quick test and get their results confidentially. The counseling centers and groups were announced as the best places to talk to someone who is a professional that can help them get appropriate answers to their personal questions. Research shows, many young individuals are too shy to make their status known but they would have been more careful if only they were told about it and condoms were made available to them free.
For this course, the Chief Medical Director of Lagos State College of Medicine, Professor David Adewale Oke through his representative Mrs. Aborishade said the organization is making available free condoms in its centers constantly, as this will help reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and other diseases. He said the behaviors and conditions that put individuals at greater risk of contacting HIV include firstly having unprotected anal or vaginal sex; having another sexually transmitted infection such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and bacterial vaginosis; sharing contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment and drug solutions when injecting drugs; receiving unsafe injections, blood transfusions, tissue transplantation, medical procedures that involve unsterile cutting or piercing; and experiencing accidental needle stick injuries, including among health workers.
The CAPDAN chairman in his speech noted the importance of working with other organizations to sensitize the public more and ensure care services are bought closer to them. He also asked partnering organizations to make available other test such as the eye test, diabetes test spots within one kilometer radius of the market. The spokeswoman for Medical Woman Association of Nigeria also supported these points by promising the support of her members to this course.
Everyone was advised to stay with one partner, if not, use protection. Regular health check-ups was also encouraged and in the case of pregnant woman with infection, they are to ensure they get ART treatment from their anta-natal centers so their unborn children can be protected from the infection.
HIV/Aids is no more a death sentence as it can be managed with antiretroviral drugs to reduce the amount of virus in the body and most times could become undetectable and with a good healthy living. Everyone can enjoy life unhindered. As the slogan goes, Prevention is better than cure.