MURPHY Akpu, Deputy Coordinator, US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has called for a change of narrative from deadly perception and nomenclature of AIDS in the rural areas.
Akpu made the call at the Candlelight Memorial by Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN) to remember fallen heroes and heroines of AIDS.
He said that it was time to flow with the progress so far made in the fight against HIV/AIDS by changing the name from the dreadful to a lighter name.
“HIV is no longer as deadly as it is being represented by the name in our different local languages.
“So we need to change that dreadful former name in our localities to what it is really today,” Akpu said.
The PEPFAR boss, who saluted the patient community on behalf of the U.S embassy, commended them for their efforts in the war against AIDS.
Dr Gambo Aliyu, Director-General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), reiterated the determination of the agency to continue to support the activities of NEPWHAN.
Aliyu, who was represented by Mrs Josephine Kalu, Director in the agency, expressed desire of NACA to end the epidemics in Nigeria.
He said that the agency had prioritised issues of prevention, treatment and sustainability in ensuring victory over the epidemics.
Also speaking, Mr Adeolu Adebiyi of World Health Organisation (WHO) appreciated the progress so far made in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Adebiyi explained that the community should be celebrating access to treatment regiment unlike in the past.
He expressed satisfaction with the availability of facilities today for those living with HIV/AIDS.
According to him, AIDS is no longer a death sentence; therefore, we need to collectively fight against stigma and discrimination because it has no medication.
Mrs Chidubem Momah, Senior Programme Officer, FHI 360, said that today the epidemic was no longer in control of the community.
Momah commended the community for their relentless efforts in stemming the epidemic as well as reducing the stigma and discrimination.
She however expressed hope that there would be light at the end of the tunnel with collective responsibility and commitment of all.
Mr Ikenna Nwakamma, first co-chairman of Coalition of Civil Societies Network for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CCSNHAN) urged the community to see themselves as lucky people with the introduction of “Undetectable=Untransmitable” campaign.
Nwakamma called for continuous battle to win the war against HIV with awareness and public enlightenment on grey areas such as discrimination and stigma.
Mr Abdulkadiri Ibrahim, National Coordinator, NEPWHAN, described the day as a day to remember the sacrifices of those that died fighting AIDS and those living with the virus.
Ibrahim, who thanked all the partners of the network for their support, promised to continue to speak against discrimination and stigma.
He called on governments at all levels to take critical steps in encouraging the war against AIDS.
According to him, those living with HIV should see Undetectable=Untransmitable campaign as a message of hope because it ensures access to treatment and viral suppression.
NAN reports that candlelight memorial is a continuation of the world AIDS day in which those that have fallen for AIDS are remembered. (NAN)
– Dec. 13, 2019 @ 14:15 GMT |