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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

NACA seeks support for women living with HIV/AIDS

Agency says 59% of positive individuals are females
As part of activities to mark the International Women’s Day (IWD), the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) has called for support for women living with and affected by Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).

IWD is celebrated every March 8 throughout the world to focus on the achievements and contributions of women in the society. It is also an opportunity to acknowledge the role of mothers, sisters and daughters in the economic, political and social development of our communities and expression of our love and appreciation to them.

Director-General of NACA, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said: “Be bold to know your HIV status. Make positive changes to live a positive and healthy life if you are HIV positive and if you are not, then stay negative by learning how to protect yourself from HIV infection.”

Aliyu noted that gender inequalities are key drivers of HIV/AIDS epidemic in several ways; this is evidenced in the persistent, disproportionate and higher HIV incidence and prevalence rates among women.

“Currently, women constitute 59 per cent of HIV positive individuals; they assume the major share of care-giving for HIV positive family members or relatives and are biologically, economically and socially more vulnerable to HIV infection than men,” he added.

The NACA boss stated that in addition to the important steps taken in addressing inequality in the national HIV and AIDS response, IWD presents another opportunity for the agency to impact positively on the lives of Nigerian women.

This, he said, can be achieved by increasing the number of women who have functional knowledge of HIV/AIDS; who know their status and are further empowered to stay negative or live positively; who are linked to treatment, care and support and are assisted in preventing transmission of the virus to their children. It also presents an opportunity to demonstrate NACA’s commitment to fighting HIV/AIDS and willingness to collaborate with other sectors of the Nigerian society to curb this menace.

He said NACA would commemorate the IWD, this year, by conducting HIV-related testing services and other related medical interventions in IDP camps and two popular markets in Abuja, noting: “The 2017 IWD celebration will build on previous achievements by focusing on awareness creation on the impact of HIV on women and girls, while calling for greater equality and equity for women. NACA will work with partners to further intensify efforts to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 through supporting our women to know their status, protect themselves and protect their unborn from HIV infection.”

Vía The Guardian Nigeria

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