Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Imo State Govt Launches HIV Art Surge Response

The Imo state government has launched its HIV art surge response as part of efforts to fight the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the State under the "Rebuild Imo Agenda” of the present Imo State government.

The Governor of Imo State, Hon Emeka Ihedioha while presenting a speech at the launch expressed concern by the statistical report on the prevalence of HIV in the state.

 The Governor revealed that even though there is a significant reduction in  HIV prevalence in Imo State,  from the 2014 average of 3.0 percent, the State’s 1.8 percent prevalence rate was far above the national average of 1.4 percent.

He disclosed that the State has already been able to find and place on treatment about 16,000 PLHIVs.

Governor Ihedioha reiterated the commitment of his government to achieving the USAIDS target of 90:90:90 which aims at controlling the epidemic by September 2020; hence, the concerted push for epidemic control, tagged HIV ART Surge.

The government has committed to tirelessly dedicate time to finding the yet be identified 38,000 Persons Living with HIV and to put same on life-saving Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) until Undetectable viral level equals Un-transmissible (U = U).

"We also pledge to give due attention to the recommendations of the ART Surge Consortium that will assist in finding the over 38,000 persons."

He also mandated that "all MDAs and institutions - including the Universities and polytechnics – to ensure the sensitization of their staff, students and wards on the need to know their HIV status. Being mindful of the metropolitan nature of our Universities, I urge them to serve as gatekeepers in this health service efforts by screening all year-one students using the risk stratification checklist and appropriate referral."

Also, he declared zero tolerance to all forms of stigma and discrimination of persons living with HIV.

 Similarly, the State will support the procurement of all the necessary kits and consumables as provisions have already been made in the 2020 Budget.

He encouraged  the Local Government Councils to join in the funding processes required for the identification and placing on treatment of the target persons.

Above all Hon Emeka Ihedioha announced that his government is abolishing all user fees and charges of any kind for HIV services

It will be recalled that on the 14th of March, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari released the report of the recently concluded National AIDS Indicator Impact Survey (NAIIS 2018). According to the report, HIV prevalence in Nigeria reduced from a previous

3.0 percent to 1.4, going by Antenatal Sero-prevalence Surveys conducted in the 36 states and the FCT in 2014. Sadly, Imo State was among the seven priority states which contributed to over 60 percent of the burden of HIV in Nigeria.

Source:Sheba Tayo Garbson

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