Charles Aniagwu, Delta State commissioner for Information has said that the state government has resolved to include persons living with Human Immuno-deficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) in it’s empowerment programmes.
Aniagwu disclosed this on Tuesday when Uduak Daniel, the zonal coordinator of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA); John Osuyali, the executive secretary, Delta State Agency for the Control of AIDS (DELSACA) and Iheaka Ezieme, the head, Prevention and Communication Unit, Delta State, paid him a courtesy visit in his office in Asaba.
Aniagwu emphasized that stigmatization amongst persons have remained because of the initial fears and lack of effective communication during its emergence, thus, he advised individuals to know their status.
He said that a lot of sensitizations about the virus and emergence of antiretroviral drugs had been provided to enable people to live freely.
He commended the efforts of NACA and its partners for making Delta State top the chart in ensuring that the deadly virus was being tackled and leaving behind a much healthier society, adding: “A healthy environment contributes to productivity in every sector in the state.”
Aniagwu applauded the team’s dedication in the area of case tracing, identifying and reducing the ability of carriers to infect others, adding that it was high time people stopped seeing the virus as a death sentence.
The commissioner promised to promote the sensitization of the public on different media platforms for free, stressing that the sensitization was much more than a community service as it affects everybody.
He advised individuals not to see the virus as just a health challenge and should be restricted to only those in the health sector but should be mindful because it affects productivity and also affects the value of life.
He stated that Delta State had recorded a milestone in tackling the virus but called for more efforts in mopping up to get to a stage that people would stop having a scare about the virus.
Uduak Daniel stressed that HIV/AIDS had earlier said that response was not strictly for the heath sector but multi-sectoral, adding that the support given to other sectors should also be extended to the HIV/AIDS sector.
She stated that new HIV self-testing kits had been launched and readily available in health facilities in order to avoid stigmatization amongst persons, and to also make sure that there is a more productive workforce.
She appealed to the commissioner and also the state government to include the HIV carriers into different programs organized by the state, positing that it would increase the confidence level of the victims.
Also speaking, Osuyali stated that a lot had been done by the organization to curtail the virus in the last two years, adding that within the period, 22,700 persons were on treatment but as of today, 68,000 persons have been traced and were being treated and under control.
He thanked the state government for its support, assuring that they would not relent in the discharge of their duties but would intensify efforts in case tracing and treatment.
Osuyali appealed for the ministry’s collaboration in publicity, stressing that it would enable them curtail the virus. ENDS//