NPA cautions port users against HIV/AIDS spread
THE Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in collaboration with the Abidjan –Lagos Corridor (ALCO) has commenced its sensitization campaign on prevention of Human Immune Deficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/ AIDS) for ports users and truck drivers.
The campaign, which usually commence every quarter of the year to encouraging port users especially truck drivers to know their HIV status and prevention methods as well as recommend treatment for positive cases.
Speaking at the campaign held at the Tin Can Island Port in lagos, Chairperson for the NPA/ALCO project, Dr. Comfort Datong said knowing the HIV status is the first step in preventing the spread of the virus.
She noted that transport workers are highly vulnerable to the disease due to the nature of their job but complained that most of them are not willing to take advantage of the free testing of knowing their HIV status for fear of the unknown.
She said although quite a considerable number of them have information on HIV, taking the step to know their HIV status has been a challenge.
“The reason for the vulnerability is that they spend lengthy period of time away from their homes and families and experience extensive delays at borders and ports; they therefore engage the services of commercial sex workers,” “The truck drivers are very difficult to deal with.
Many of them are afraid to come out for the test. So what I tell them is that if they hide away, it will manifest and at that point they cannot hide again when everybody will know they have the virus,” she said.
Datong stated further that, the NPA HIV/AIDS awareness campaign has so far recorded a lot of achievements and the rate of new positive cases have reduced indicating that more people are now been sensitized on the prevention methods.
On positive cases detected, she said “we refer them to referral centres; we have such centres everywhere in Lagos even here in Apapa,”