A new scheme to conduct free HIV testing and counseling has commenced in six states classified as HIV endemic in Nigeria.
The project, which begins today (Thursday), is a collaboration between states, local councils and the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF).
The scheme targets Anambra, Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Cross River and Abuja and plan to test about 15,000 persons per day.
Prevention Programme Manager at AHF and coordinator of the project, Elizabeth Duile, while giving further details in an interview in Abuja said: “We all know that there is gap for HIV testing and counseling in Nigeria. Over 55 per cent of Nigerians have not be able to know their HIV status, either because it is not available or because they do not have access to it, or because they simply do not know about it.
“Some others do not care, either because they do not know the importance. Part of our contributions to this in Nigeria is to make sure that we educate the people about their health. HIV is something to be talked about because of the challenges involved when somebody is infected.
“We hope to test not less than 15,000 people daily across six states. We have supported sites in these states and they are assisted to do HIV treatment, prevention, and of course, a lot of advocacy activities. If we do not drive the prevention activities, the other aspects would just rest and nobody will access them.”
She added that the idea was mainly to create awareness so that people would know their status and get access to available services for treatment.