The US government and Caritas Nigeria checkmate the spread of HIV/AIDS in the Southeast

By Steve Oko

The United States government, in cooperation with Caritas Nigeria, has taken action to contain the spread of the dreaded Human Immunovirus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in south-eastern Nigeria.

Because it turns out that Abia has the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases in the zone.

Speaking during the official launch of the Accelerated Control of HIV, Epidemic and Sustainable Solution Project in Umuahia, Claritas Nigeria Executive Secretary/Chief Executive Officer Rev. Fr. Uchechukwu Obodoechina said the NGO has received grants from the US government to fight the pandemic preserved in the southeast.

According to him, the Access project aims to reach all people infected with HIV to enable them to receive free diagnosis and treatment.

He said the American Center for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct the projects for five years in the states studied.

The minister urged states in the Southeast to complement efforts by the US government and NGOs to bring the HIV/AIDS epidemic under control.

His words: “We have a grant from the US government and its people to receive services in Abia State and other parts of south-eastern Nigeria to achieve HIV/AIDS epidemic control.

“The government of Nigeria and Abia State should also stand up because it is their responsibility to ensure their citizens are healthy.

“That is the nature of government. The government is there to do for the people what they cannot do themselves. That is the content of the social contract.

“It is important to recognize that if the government is doing its job, it has done its duty. It’s not charity, it’s responsibility.”

In a note, the program’s Abia State Project Director said,
dr Amana Effiong said the project is particularly targeted at people living with HIV/AIDS in some parts of the state who were not reached during the organization’s previous work, known as the 4GATES project.

Effiong expressed concern that some states in the southeast had brought HIV disease under control, but Abia state had yet to achieve such a feat.

He urged the state government to address the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS.

“Abia is still one of the states with the highest number of people living with HIV without access to treatment,” he lamented, adding, “Our mission is to find as many people as possible and get them on antiretroviral treatment undergo.”

He said the organization has developed various strategies to reach the target group of HIV/AIDS patients and get them treatment so they can live their normal lives.

“Currently, many states in Nigeria have achieved disease control and treatment, but this is not the case in Abia state.

“Caritas Nigeria has been given a mandate to ensure we reach treatment saturation in the state. “

In a remark, the leader of the Access project, Dr. John Oko identified the stigma of people living with HIV/ADID as the only challenge the organization has faced in its previous projects in the state.

He said the five-year project is a comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment project in collaboration with other partners.

Speaking at the event, Health Ministry Undersecretary Deaconess Frankca Ekwueme urged those living with HIV disease to always make themselves available for treatment.

She said the disease was “not a death sentence” and argued that with the right treatment, HIV/AIDS patients could lead their normal lives.

Ms Ekwueme frowned at the stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS to avoid worsening their situation.

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