16 September 2020 by Julian Osamoto
A Civil Society Organization for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, CiSHAN is to commence a national campaign to reach 10million people with HIV self testing kits before the end of this year.
The Executive Secretary CiSHAN, Mr. Walter Ugwocha, while speaking during a virtual media round table, ahead of the campaign, said the plan was to meet the UNAIDS target of ensuring that 95 percent of Nigerians know their HIV status by 2030.
Mr. Ugwocha explained that the campaign would also assist in identifying newly diagnosed patients and linking them to treatment with the lead implementing partners in their State.
He said. “based on the 2018 Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, Nigeria was lagging behind in achieving the 1st 95 of the 95-95-95 target by 2030, also out of the 1.9 million people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, about 900,000 were yet to show up for treatment which currently could not be accounted for.”
The Executive Secretary of CiSHAN, noted that Prior to the lockdown, there had been challenges on how to bridge the gap between population access to HIV testing and identifying the unreached HIV positive Populations.
“This was further awakened by the anecdotal field reports by CiSHAN during the lockdown. CiSHAN had coordinated a national program in partnership with Positive Action for Treatment Access, PATA, Association of Women Against AIDS in Nigeria ASWHAN and the Association of Positive Youths in Nigeria, APYIN, to work with identified community members in delivering anti-retroviral drugs to persons living with HIV/AIDS in need of it”.
“We would be going to a state in each of the geo-political zones; such as Kogi, Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Abia and Lagos States, to help close the existing HIV testing gap.” He said.
Mr Ugwocha, called on the Federal and State Governments, as well as relevant agencies and development partners to key into the initiative by increasing the awareness, procuring the HIV self-testing kits and making it available at public settings, as well as communities towards increasing access to HIV testing in the country.