About 12,603 Human Infected Virus (HIV) persons in Abia state are to receive government minimal support services as part of commitment towards the reducing the rate of infection and eradication of HIV/AIDS in the state.
The wife of the governor, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji dropped this hint on Monday in Umuahia after leading a road and awareness walk on HIV/AIDS in the state stated that 7,351 carriers of the virus will equally receive treatment in various outlets in the state.
Lady Orji further said that 33 counseling and testing outlets and seven comprehensive Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres in the three senatorial zones of the state have been established all geared towards reducing the rate of new infections.
She called on pregnant women and all health workers in the state to access the services of prevention of mother to child transmission by going to the nearest centres to them for counseling, testing and treatment in order to deliver a HIV negative baby, and free the next generation from HIV.
The wife of the governor described this year’s celebration theme-“ Getting to Zero death level” as aptly stating that ensuring national ownership and financial sustainability which involves mobilizing in-country resources to full in the huge gaps in the response with a major emphasis on greater access to treatment would go a long way to control the virus.
She therefore cautioned against stigmatization of the carriers and stressed the need for total abstinence and mutual fidelity as the best options to curb the spread of the epidemic.
In his address, the Commissioner for Health, Dr. Okechukwu Ogar said that in line with this year’s global theme, the state has been working towards getting to zero level on the HIV/AIDS prevalence in the state through distribution testing kits to all facilities in the state, scaled up prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) to 25 more sites to reduce new infections, distribution of HIV/AIDS guidelines/protocols, capacity building of health workers, training of 60 health workers on PMTCT.
Dr. Ogar also said that 50 health workers on TB/HIV collaboration have been trained while 12 health facilities for HIV activities have been scaled up and 2012 National HIV/AIDS and reproductive survey conducted.
The Commissioner commended the wife of the governor for her special interest support and provision of a suitable environment for these interventions to be achieved.
Earlier in his speech, the Project Manager agency for Control of HIV/AIDS, Dr Sam Ohaeri commended the wife of the governor for her support to the agency’s programmes and in all HIV/AIDS related programme and restated their commitment in the fight against the epidemic.
The event featured road walk around major roads and streets of the state capital by stakeholders and students in the fight against HIV/AIDS.