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HIV/AIDS prevention Stakeholders urge FG to intensify orientation in schools, grassroots

He said that Nigeria must focus its campaign, specifically among the youth, to meet up with the National Action Committee against AIDS (NACA) 2030 target for zero HIV infections and deaths.

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(Deccan Chronicle)

Dr Abiodun Oladunjuoye, the Provost, Ogun College of Health Technology, Ilese-Ijebu, has urged the three tiers of government to intensify their HIV/AIDS awareness at the schools and grassroots.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Ilese-Ijebu, that more efforts were necessary because ignorance of the condition was a major constraint at the grassroots.

He said that Nigeria must focus its campaign, specifically among the youth, to meet up with the National Action Committee against AIDS (NACA) 2030 target for zero HIV infections and deaths.

“The disease is most prevalent among the youth because they are the ones willing to always try something new and engage in sex with multiple partners.

“The importance of information in achieving the objective cannot be undermined as the truth is that some still claim ignorance of the virus especially in rural areas.

“We must begin to actively engage our children in sex education from the homes, making them see reason why they must discipline themselves until marriage, before committing to sex,’’ he said.

Oladunjuoye, however, urged the stakeholders to ensure the 'ABC' strategy: Abstinence from sex; Being faithful and the use of Condom to form the fulcrum of the campaign.

He also advised the people to endeavour to always go for HIV test, to know their status, saying that being proclaimed a positive carrier of the virus did not translate to a death sentence.

“We must continue to support those living positively with HIV and see them as one of us, because nothing kills faster than the trauma of alienation and depression,” he said.

Similarly, Mr Akintayo Akinpelu, the Chairman, Ogun HIV/AIDS Prevention Technical Working Group, stressed the need for stakeholders to work together to kick out the virus.

Akinpelu called on the government and civil society groups to work together by intensifying previous campaign efforts in achieving the zero infection 2030 target.

He said tat accurate data of those already infected with the virus must be gathered and victims made to understand the need to help curtail the its spread by taking care of themselves.

“Having access to HIV counseling and testing is key, because when you know your status, even if positive, you should know how to take care of yourself.

“The Ogun State Government is already increasing the test centres across the state to ensure that more people have access to counseling and testing.

“With more people becoming aware of the virus and how to take care of themselves, the disease ceases to become endemic,” Akinpelu said.

He said that to protect against stigmatisation, the state government had assented to the Anti-Stigma Law empowering persons living with HIV/AIDs to challenge their abusers in the courts

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