World AIDS Day: HIV/AIDS Ravages IDPs’ Camps in Borno, Adolescents in Lagos

As the world marks Aids Day, Hassan Mustapha, the Coordinator on HIV/AIDS in Borno, Thursday, said no fewer than 5,000 Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs, in 27 camps in Borno are currently living with HIV/AIDS.
The theme for the 2016 global event is “Hands Up for HIV Prevention.”
World AIDS Day is designed to honour AIDS victims and focus on issues surrounding HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
He said that most of the patients were women who were rescued from captivity in Boko Haram camps.
The coordinator, however, said that some of those affected were not effectively accessing anti-retroviral therapy because of stigmatisation.
He lamented that many of them had died of the scourge because they were not properly counselled and sensitised on the need to enrol under the HIV/AIDS control programme.
“We have more than 1,000 patients in Bama camp and 3, 000 in Gwoza camp while over 1,000 others are taking refuge in the host communities.
“We have heard of many supporting NGOs in Borno but none of them has approached us to offer assistance to the IDPs living with the virus.
“The IDPs living with such ailment are constantly challenged; they do not go out to access drugs.
“Most of them are shy while some are afraid to be identified by others as carriers.
“They sometimes complain to us that they are not allowed to go out of the camp to access drugs in other centres.
“The honest truth is that government is not paying priority attention to the plight of such persons,” said Mustapha.
Also, Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State AIDS Control Agency, Oluseyi Temowo, has said that about 72,000 adolescents are living with HIV in Lagos State,
Temowo made the disclosure on Thursday while speaking in Lagos at a forum on adolescents living with HIV.
An NGO, Positive Action for Treatment, organised the forum in partnership with the AIDS agency to mark 2016 World AIDS Day.
Temowo urged the people to know their status early, added that drugs for HIV could be obtained free in any government hospital in the state.
He advised parents, guardians, healthcare givers and media to support the government in its effort to stamp out the condition by engaging in massive sensitisation of the public.
Also speaking, Olufemi Onanuga, the Special Adviser to Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode on Primary Healthcare, said the state government would sanction any school or organisation guilty of discriminating against HIV patients.
The Wife of the Governor, Bolanle Ambode, appealed to policy makers across the country for intervention programmes targeted at adolescents living with HIV and AIDS, because of their strategic age bracket.
Ambode, the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion, urged LSACA and all relevant government agencies to continue sensitising the public on the danger of discriminating against people living with HIV and AIDS.

Author: News Editor

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