Rivers outlines plans to thwart HIV/AIDS discrimination

Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Banigo,By AUGUSTINE OSAYANDE
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE Rivers State Government has warned against discrimination and stigmatisation of persons living with HIV/AIDS.

Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Banigo, said the government was committed to tackling the challenges and promote community intervention and participation.

She made the remarks during the just-concluded World Aids Day Celebration at Isiokpo, Ikwerre Local Government Council of the state.

“It has become necessary to change the behaviour of the people as the main drivers of the HIV/AIDs scourge by collaborating to end dental, stigmatization, unsafe sexual behaviour and ignorance,” Banigo said.

She added that the State AIDS/STI Control Programme in conjunction with the supporting partners had already embarked on massive voluntary community testing campaigns in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state to tackle prevalent issues.

“We have created significant access to HIV services all over the state. There are currently 45 comprehensive treatment centres in the state and 20 of these treatments areas were set up within the first 100 days of this administration under the New Rivers Vision as a clear commitment to
improving patient outcome,” Banigo said.

She called on all and sundry to join hands with the State Government in the fight against HIV/AIDs in the State and also avail themselves of the opportunity of knowing their status through the free test programme.

“Let us collaboratively remain steadfast and resolute in the pursuit of zero new infections to reach a future generation free of HIV/AIDs, Banigo said.

Coordinator of Rivers State Action Committee on HIV/AIDs (RIVSACA), Dr Okey Chimezie, said the time had come for the state to take charge and allow Local Government Councils to shoulder some responsibilities in the issue of HIV/AIDs control and management.

He lauded members of the Civil Society Organisations for carrying the message to the rural communities, emphasizing that HIV/AIDs positive persons could live normal life.

– CAJ News

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