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The Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) has commenced a sensitisation programme for about 250 members of the Deaf and Blind communities in Lagos State on HIV response.
The sensitisation programme for these categories of persons according to the Chief Executive Officer of LSACA, Dr. (Mrs) Monsurat Adeleke was a new initiative by the agency to make its HIV campaign all-inclusive and care for the needs of all residents of the State and their well-being in general.
Adeleke spoke during a 3-day sensitization/training for the Deaf and the Blind communities in Lagos State on the Basic Fact about HIV, Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, Universal Safety Precautions, Referrals and Linkages held at LCCI Building, Alausa, Ikeja.
The CEO said that the deaf and the Blind people are at higher risk of contracting HIV from the hearing community who seldom takes advantages of these hearing and visually impaired persons by way of luring them into having unprotected sex.
She maintained that this inhumane practice further exposes members of the Deaf and Blind communities to the risk of contracting sexually transmitted disease (STDs) including HIV and AIDS, stressing that the development must be addressed for the state government to achieve its aim of reducing the spread of the virus among the populace.
The Head of Project, Lagos State Aids Control Agency (LSACA), Dr Oladipupo Fisher, while speaking on the issue, disclosed that without intervention, 5% – 20% of infants breastfed by HIV – infected mothers may acquire HIV through breastfeeding.
He pointed out that a baby can acquire HIV from an infected mother during pregnancy, delivery and breastfeeding, stressing that HIV Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission was very imperative in the fight against the spread of the deadly disease.
Dr Fisher also urged community members to provide care and support groups for HIV positive mothers irrespective of their infant feeding options.
Also, Dr Folashade Olaosebikan stated the need for referrals in the health service system in order to ensure that the required service is provided.
She added that in order to make referrals more effective commitment of participating organization to make the referral process work is key.