National HIV survey to take place in Oyo November
The Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS) to provide detailed data on prevalence rates of HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C, is to start in Oyo State in November, Dr Olukayode Ogunkunle, Project Manager, Oyo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (OYSACA), has said.
Ogunkunle, speaking at a two-day-training on HIV/AIDS awareness, reporting and communications for media practitioners in Oyo State on Thursday stated that the national AIDS survey flagged off in June, will determine the true distribution of HIV and Hepatitis B and C in the state.
He declared that the results from the survey would provide key information that would guide the government in planning and developing effective programmes to control HIV and Hepatitis in the country.
The survey to take place in households that are mapped out by the National Population Council, Dr Ogunkunle, declared will also offer household-based counselling and testing, as well as Hepatitis B and C testing.
Dr Ogunkunle added that only individuals who voluntarily agreed to participate would be interviewed, with their blood sample tested under confidential environment.
“Those who test positive for any of the tests will be referred to suitable health facilities to receive appropriate services,” he said.
While declaring media is critical in stemming the tide of the virus in Nigeria, he urged them to always use appropriate language in their reportage of HIV-related issues.
According to him, appropriate choice of word in reporting will not create fear, stem stigma and discrimination of persons living with the virus as well as people shying away from HIVtesting and treatment.
OYOSACA’s Community Mobilisation Officer, Mrs Tolulope Olusola-Jimoh in an overview of HIV in Oyo State stated that Nigeria has the second highest burden of HIVdisease in Africa, with over 90 per cent of the cases from unprotected sex.
Although 35 per cent of this virus transmission was from homosexuality, she expressed concern on the possible increase in new infection in children due to incest.
Olusola-Jimoh, who put the virus prevalence in Oyo State at 1.9 per cent, said further reducing HIV incidence in the state will require ensuring at least 95 per cent of people know their HIV status; at least 95 per cent of people living with the virus having access to HIV care and treatment and retaining at least 95 per cent of them on HIV treatment and care.
Earlier, Executive Sectary, OYO SACA, Mr Obatunde Oladapo, said no single on the claims of the virus cure has been proved true, saying many only bombard Nigerians with misinformation and lies.
He called on the media not to relent in helping to educate Nigerians on the killer virus and how best to avoid getting infected.