Makes case for creation of inclusive and supportive environment for those affected by HIV/AIDS in Nigeria
As the world marks the 35th annual World AIDS Day on December 1, 2023, DevComs call on all stakeholders to renew their commitment to the global fight against HIV/AIDS and stand united in the pursuit of ending the epidemic within Nigeria’s borders.
In this guise, the organisation has called for the creation of an inclusive and supportive environment for those affected by HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, stressing that the importance of unity in the fight against this global health challenge.
Themed “Let communities lead” this year’s World AIDS Day serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to address health disparities and work collectively to achieve the ambitious targets set forth by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS).
In the late 1990s and 2000s Nigeria, recognizing the gravity of the HIV/AIDS challenge, intensified its efforts to curb the spread of the virus, enhance access to treatment, and eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with the disease.
Using some of those commitments as pegs, DevComs, in a statement on Friday called for increased Testing and Awareness, in which case it stated that the government should continuously scale up HIV testing and counseling services to reach more communities, emphasizing the importance of early detection and treatment.
The organisation also stated that, while there is commitment to ensuring that everyone living with HIV in the country has access to life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART), there is need for increased efforts to expand treatment centers and improve the availability of essential medications.
On Prevention Programmes, it stated that continuous investment in comprehensive prevention programs, including education campaigns, distribution of condoms, and support for high-risk populations, to reduce the number of new HIV infections is of utmost importance especially among the young generation of Nigerians, the GenZ and others.
In apparent recognition of the crucial role of communities in the fight against HIV/AIDS, DevComs stated that involvement of communities, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Academia, Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) and Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the design and implementation of HIV/AIDS programs should continue.
“The country should not relent in efforts to eliminate discrimination and stigmatization associated with HIV/AIDS, dispelling myths and misconceptions with continuous public awareness campaigns to promote understanding and empathy towards those affected and affected by the virus,” the statement signed by DevCom’s Programme Officer, Marvelous Fagbenle noted.
In commemorating this year’s World AIDS Day, government officials, healthcare professionals, development partners, activists, and citizens should come together to participate in various events, including seminars, workshops, and awareness walks across the country.
We align with the Programme Coordinator for Henry Jackson Foundation Medical Research Institute (HJFMRI), Dooshima Uganden, who stated that it is important to focus on the key and Vulnerable Populations in the country and communications must begin to target these vulnerable groups.
Mrs Omobonike Adebayo, DevComs Programme Officer, Communication, call on all stakeholders to “stand resolute in their commitment to achieving the UNAIDS targets while ensuring a future free from the burden of HIV/AIDS for all citizens with targeted inclusiveness and to ensure that all individuals and families are covered wherever their locations.
The World AIDS Day, observed on December 1 each year, is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for those living with HIV, and commemorate those who have died from AIDS-related illnesses. The day also aims to raise awareness about the importance of HIV prevention, treatment, and care.