An AIDS Health Care Foundation (AHF) statistics reveal that Nigeria has the second highest HIV infected persons in Africa, just behind South Africa, with about 3.4 million Nigerians living with the virus in the country.
AHF Senior Manager, Communication, Miss Kemi Gbadamosi in a statement issued on Friday in Abuja, also claimed that only about 45 percent of Nigerians are aware of their HIV status, a percentage which is quite low judging by Nigeria’s population size.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is the largest non-profit HIV/AIDS organisation in the world and provides health care to more than 600,000 patients in 36 countries. AHF Nigeria has been operating in the country since 2011 and has presence in six states.
The foundation as part of its contribution to Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS response, had flagged off a testing campaign aimed at reaching 15,000 Nigerians with free HIV test. The testing campaign will target Abuja, Anambra, Benue, Cross River, Kogi and Nasarawa States.
The campaign would be held in partnership with state and local government authorities with the target of realizing the UNAIDS/AHF global goals on HIV/AIDS.
Country Programme Manager of AHF Nigeria, Dr Adetayo Towolawi, said achieving an AIDS-free generation was possible if more people knew their status and those found positive placed on treatment.
According to the AHF, the HIV testing campaign is part of the organisation’s robust prevention activities for the year and a strategic tool in ensuring that more Nigerians know their HIV status.
In addition to HIV testing, individuals will also have an opportunity to check their blood pressure, receive health and wellness talks among other services.
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Dr. Adetayo Towolawi said that relevant stakeholders and partners in the country, are scaling up testing uptake and AHF Nigeria is taking measures to consolidate these efforts and champion community-driven testing outreaches, which will ensure that people living with HIV have access to treatment, care and support.