Nigeria: The Edo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (EdoSACA) announced that they will celebrate the 2023 World AIDS Day. The Coordinator of the Agency, Evelyn Suleman made the announcement during a stakeholders’ meeting in Benin City.
During the meeting, Suleman appreciated the various stakeholders and donors who have helped the organization with their developmental goals. She said that the 2023 World AIDS Day is unique and must get even more publicity.
This is important in light of the level of naivety exhibited by some persons who ordinarily are aware that the HIV exists.
She was happy to announce that it is possible to achieve “No AIDS” by the year 2030. For this, the stakeholders must educate people and give them accurate information about the disease
The EdoSACA coordinator disclosed that the event will begin with the HIV Testing Services (HTS) at some strategic locations in Benin City. Community Based Organisations (CBOs) will also replicate the model across the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo State.
She added that some important personalities will attend and open the HTS on Friday, November 24, 2023. The opening ceremony will be hosted at the Benin City Central Park, Obakhavbaye, Benin City.
Meanwhile the grand celebration will be hosted on Friday, December 1, 2023.
Several stakeholders and donors spoke at the meeting, including the One Stop Shop (OSS) Clinician, Dr Joseph Ekong. He announced that his organisation will support them by providing HIV Self-testing kits for the events to boost the fight against HIV in the State.
Meanwhile, Edo State Coordinator of the Network of People Living With HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), Friday Osayande, described the condition of his Association as not good enough. Accordingly, he asked the relevant authorities of government to ameliorate their plight.
Osayande stated that the purpose of the World AIDS Day, which was first held on 1st December, 1988, is to remember persons who have lost their lives to the virus, to show support to those living with the virus, amongst others.
The representative of the Police Action Committee on AIDS (PACA), Officer Ese Julia Omo-Igene, recommends that as part of the crusade against stigmatization against persons living with the virus, the HIV and AIDS anti-stigma policy and the equality of all to access medical care should be visibly displayed in every institution, especially medical facilities.
The Global Theme for the commemoration of the 2023 World AIDS Day is “Let Communities Lead.” Meanwhile the National Theme for Nigeria is “Communities: Leadership to End AIDS by 2030”.
It is expected that the commemoration of the 2023 World AIDS Day will boost the fight against HIV and AIDS with a view to ending AIDS by the year 2030, which is about seven years time.