By: Onyi Ogar
The Cross River State government has said that the prevalence of Human Immune Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) was still very high in the state and that in order to reduce the prevalence in the state it decided to take the free testing to the new yam festival.
Mr. Patrick Ngbe, coordinator for the State HIV/AIDS disclosed this at Odajie Mbube, venue of the 2018 Mbube New Yam celebration last weekend, while speaking with The Lens in Ogoja.
He said, “I am here to provide testing and counseling on HIV/AIDS in Mbube. We have discovered that it is very necessary because in the entire state, our prevalence is 6.6. To me I think it is still very high. We need to drastically reduce it. It is in a forum like this that we can catch the people, catch them young. We appeal to them to come in for testing. It is better you know your HIV status, in order to live a better life”.
The coordinator also said that the medical outreach was free and available for everybody who never had opportunity or had access to medical facilities.
Mr. Patrick also said that after the exercise, depending on the nature of the results, government would provide necessary solutions. According to him, if the result is negative government would advise the patient to continue to live a negative life and not a promiscuous one. If your result is positive government would equally teach you how to live a positive life and not to re-infect others with the virus.
He said that the causes are many but the one which has multiplying effect is sexual intercourse. “Once you have a population that is promiscuous such as youths between the ages of 12 – 30 years, contacting HIV/AIDS was imminent. They are sexually active and equally expose to the virus. HIV AIDS does not end with only sex, but also with blood transfusion. If you transfuse blood to a patient who is negative, it will result in direct transfusion of the virus and that person becomes HIV positive. Even local settings like razors and needles in barbing saloons could transmit this virus easily”.
Government debunks the notion that Nigerians are very shy when it comes to HIV.
” I want to be very emphatic here, the Mbube community has out grown that level. You can see what is happening here. People are trooping in and out doing the counseling and testing. So Mbube community of recent has become too enlightened when it comes to HIV AIDS”.
Published in maiden edition, Lens Newspapers Vol. 1 No. 10.