By Lucy Osuizigbo/Sade Adeniran
No fewer than 9, 579 people were tested positive to HIV of the 616, 318 that attended the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) awareness programme from January to June, 2016.
Dr Oluseyi Temowo, the Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), made this known on Wednesday in Lagos.
Temowo spoke at a news conference in Ikeja to mark the 2016 World AIDS Day with the theme: “Hands Up for #HIV Prevention’’.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that United Nations had in 1988 declared every Dec.1 as the World AIDS Day.
This is to honour AIDS victims and focus on issues surrounding HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) and AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome).
Temowo said that in 2015, a total number of 599, 560 people were counselled, tested and received results out of which 15, 311 people were found to be positive.
The LSACA chief said that 52, 803 people living with the scourge were currently on Antiretrovirals (ARVs).
“These statistics simply means that there are many more people who are not aware that they have the virus, that is why knowing one’s status is very important.
“It is a common knowledge that an HIV positive person can be symptom free for 10 years and will continue to infect others, if not checked and treated.
“Being HIV positive does not translate to death with appropriate medications,” he said.
Temowo said that the agency had mobilised its HCT trucks to all the nooks and crannies of the state to conduct free HIV conselling and testing.
This, he said, would enable every Lagos resident to be aware of his or her health status.
Temowo said that access to HCT would allow individuals to know their status and take appropriate steps to prevent the transmission to other people.
He said that this would also stop the progression to AIDS through lifestyle modification and health seeking behaviour.
According to him, this is geared toward achieving the eradication of the virus by 2030.
“Achieving AIDS free generation requires collective efforts, this is why we are calling on government at all levels, individuals and organisations to join us in this quest to make Lagos State an HIV Free Zone.
“We implore residents to visit all government hospitals within their areas to access free HCT, while HCT trucks will move around to reach other areas for this purpose.
“We also advise people to ensure these various means of prevention- condom use, harm reduction, voluntary medical male circumcision, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, counselling and testing,” he said.