In a bid to further reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, the Ogun State Government, through the Agency for the Control of AIDS (OGSACA), has intensified efforts by increasing the HIV Testing Services (HTS) sites from 86 in 2014 to 431.
The Commissioner for Health, Dr Tomi Coker, who revealed this at Governor’s office Press Center, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, during a press briefing organised by OGSACA in commemoration of 2020 World AIDS Day with the theme; “United to End AIDS in the Midst of COVID-19” stated that as at mid-year, 49,211 persons were tested and counselled, out of which 105 tested positive.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Nafiu Aigoro, Coker, added that at present, 20,827 infected persons were on Antiretroviral therapy, She also advised that lives saving medicines, vaccines and diagnostics must be considered as public goods.
She noted that three months of Antiretroviral therapy was provided for People Living With HIV (PLWHIV), in the nearest facilities, preventing them from contacting coronavirus.
The Commissioner, who commended the wife of the Governor, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, for her support to PLWHIV, by giving them palliatives during the COVID- 19 lockdown, assured that vigorous campaign would be taken to every nooks and crannies of the State including riverine areas.
”Let me assure residents of the State that campaign and publicity on the prevention of HIV/ AIDS will be taken to them wherever they live,” the Commissioner said.
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary, OGSACA, Dr Kehinde Fatungase, highlighted some factors associated with the rising HIV epidemic, which include poverty, low literacy level, stigma and discrimination, low political will, low use of condom and risky sexual behaviour among others. He enjoined residents of the state to maintain and build on good hygiene, adding that HIV Self Test Kits would be launched December 1, 2020.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministy of Information and Strategy, Mr Abiodun Awere, who was represented by Director Strategy, Mr Tunde Kazeem, commended the present administration for giving support to OGSACA, urging the agency to build up enlightenment campaign and advocacy to enable members of the public know the dangers inherent in unprotected sexual intercourse.