The Akwa Ibom State Agency for the control of HIV/AIDS (AKSACA) has pledged to endure zero HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state by 2030.
It said it would do this through sensitization programmes aimed at awareness creation and other activities.
Igbemi Arthur Igbemi, AKSACA project manager and a medical doctor who stated this during an advocacy meeting emphasized that timely reportage of HIV/AIDS matters is key to reducing its prevalence.
He said the media are at the strategic point to bridge the information gap about HIV/AIDS.
According to him, “strategic movement” had led to the meeting of the Akwa Ibom State HIV media advocacy platform to further find “ways for reportage of AIDS matters by different media organizations.”
He disclosed that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (AKHA) on September 30, passed the Anti Stigmatization of HIV/AIDS Patient Bill to prohibit stigmatization against persons living with HIV/AIDS, protect the rights and dignity of these persons, and to regulate the practice of HIV /AIDS counseling and testing in the state.
He said the bill, when signed into law, will create a supportive environment for the people with HIV/ AIDS to work under normal conditions for as long as they are medically fit.
“The Law will protect the medical status or information of people living with HIV /AIDS and also guarantee equal opportunities in employment, public accommodation and transportation.”
“HIV is a social and behavioural problem, and anything that has to do with social, and behavioural issues, Communication is key. You can’t force people to change. It is the information they get that will help them reflect on it, have access to the drugs, and the way to prevent it as well.”
Also speaking at the event, Namso Thomas, a representative from National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) urged the media to contribute their quota even as they partner with NACA to eliminate HIV/AIDS issues that will bring about positive social change in our country.
Thomas hinted that, recent survey on the HIV/AIDS in the South-South states showed Akwa Ibom and River states recorded 75 percent of new cases in the last three months.
He called for all hands to be on deck to address the problem as HIV/AIDS is a multi-sectoral problem.
The Uyo meeting, which drew participants from both electronic and print media outfits in the state, was the second on the series, meant to further seek ways to bring more light to the issues through accurate reportage of AIDS matters.