2016 World AIDS Day
The Secretary to the State Government and Chairman, Ondo State Agency for the Control of AIDS (ODSACA), Dr. Aderotimi Adelola has admonished sex workers in the state to embrace behaviour change, correct and consistent use of condoms and all HIV prevention intervention mechanism put in place by the government to ensure zero HIV new infection in Ondo State.
The Secretary to the State Government stated this while briefing journalists after monitoring hotels, brothels, hospitals, HIV Counselling and Testing centres and activities of Female Sex Workers in the state, as part of activities commemorating the 2016 World AIDS Day, with the Theme “Hands On for HIV Prevention”.
Adelola who said HIV is not contracted only through sex but eighty per cent of the population contracted it through sex and therefore appealed to security agencies, hoteliers, traditional birth attendants, opinion leaders, traditional leaders, and every stakeholder to join hands with the agency in ensuring zero HIV new infection, zero discrimination and stigmatization, zero mother to child transmission, zero HIV related deaths, among others.
He said hoteliers and brothel owners must carry out HIV prevention intervention mechanism by placing condoms in their hotel rooms, educating sex workers on ‘no condom, no sex’ and ensuring they comply with the State Anti Stigma law “A Bill For A Law To Make Provisions For The Prevention Of The Spread Of HIV And AIDS, Elimination Of Discrimination And Stigmatization And Other Matters Incidental Thereto Or Connected Therewith”, to ensure the scourge is reduced to the minimum.
The Chief Scribe said it is necessary for everyone to know their HIV status, as the government has made HIV Testing Services (HTS) free to all and sundry where they live, work and play. In addition, adequate care, support and treatment at no cost is being provided for those infected ,stressing that health workers, community volunteers must continue to create demand for Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission services and Prevention of HIV related deaths.
Adelola maintained that the government has provided needed test kits and sophisticated equipment to ensure blood screening is done without error and healthy living is promoted among People living with HIV .
Corroborating his view, the Project Manager of ODSACA,
Dr. Adedayo Adegbulu, noted that with the theme for this year there is need for the mobilisation of opinion leaders, community leaders, health workers, security agencies and every stakeholder to effectively implement strategic action plans to promote condom use, enhance demand creation strategy for HIV services and reaching out to several key sub-populations on HIV prevention activities.
He observed that the present administration has done a lot to reducing the prevalence of the virus through provision of needed policy document, increased sensitisation, increased HIV Counseling and Testing centres, involvement of stakeholders, which has enabled it to reduce the prevalence from 2.3% in 2010 to 1.6% in 2016, maintaining that the target is to ensure 0.2% HIV prevalence in the state in order to meet up with the 2030 target for the eradication of AIDS.
Adegbulu therefore appealed to the private sector to be interested in assisting the Agency towards stemming the spread of the virus, while urging them to see it as a social responsibility to provide Care and Support for People Living with the Virus.
In her own view, the Community Mobilisation Officer, ODSACA,
Mrs. Funmilade Akinrelere, said HIV education has been mainstreamed into secondary school curriculum to encourage youths on abstinence, increase their awareness about HIV/AIDS and advice them to further spread the campaign in their homes and among peers.
She said the activities of the Civil Society Organisations have been extended to enable the people access HIV services, while Orphans and Vulnerable Children have been provided with adequate and needed parameters to enhance their sustainability in the society.
Reacting, the Director, Brothel Owners Association, Chief (Mrs.) Bola Oseni, lauded the government for putting in place measures to ensure the people know their HIV status, get informed about the virus, noting that they will support the government in ensuring adherence to HIV prevention intervention among sex workers.
She however appealed to ODSACA to intensify efforts at targeting and educating non- brothel based Female Sex Workers, women who commercialise sex for material and financial needs on HIV and ensure they access HIV Counselling and Testing, as they constitute major risk to the society.
She said the message will be passed across to the people and more will be encouraged to know their HIV status, ensure correct and consistent use of condoms, create demand for HIV services, while they will cooperate with the agency to resolve any challenge confronted in the course of providing HIV Counselling and Testing.
Furtherance to marking the World AIDS Day, Ondo State Agency for the Control of AIDS in collaboration with Min. Of Education conducted a quiz competition among 13 schools in the 3 senatorial district of the state at St. Peter’s Unity Secondary School, St. Hellen’s Unity Secondary School, Ondo emerged at the first position, St. Peter’s Unity Secondary School, Akure took the second position and Ejioba High School Obaile took the third position. HIV Testing Services was not left out as 5 Testing sites were located at Akure South Local Govt. Area of the state among which are Oja Oba, Isikan market, St. Peter’s Unity Secondary School, Governor’s Office and NEPA market . The result indicates that 3 clients were reactive and have been referred accordingly to SSH Akure to access treatment out of the 479 clients screened (M-153;F-326).