78,359 persons HIV victims in Delta, says Okowa
Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has disclosed that about 78,359 persons are presently living with the dreaded HIV, out of the state’s estimated population of over five million.
Okowa, who spoke yesterday in Asaba during a live radio and television broadcast on the occasion of the World AIDS Day, said the prevalence rate stands at 0.7 per cent and called for increased advocacy on the HIV/AIDS pandemic to eradicate stigmatisation and discrimination in the country.
He added that 38,257 are eligible for treatment in the state, while 28,000 are currently accessing the life-saving Anti-Retroviral Drugs (ARV), which is 73 per cent coverage in treatment, adding: “Delta State HIV prevalence rate currently stands at 3.6 per cent (among ante-natal surveys), while the survey among the general population is 0.7 per cent
“I enjoin all stakeholders to re-double their efforts at educating our people on the HIV/AIDS pandemic, as well as to take proactive steps at eradicating stigma and discrimination among the citizenry.
“It is a known fact that many people are generally aware of HIV/AIDS, but correct knowledge on how to prevent the infection is rather limited, due mainly to unfounded myths and outright denial of the reality of HIV/AIDS.”
Okowa, a medical doctor, noted that the theme for this year’s AIDS Day, ‘Right to Health: Making it Happen,’ was apt and appealled to the people to endeavour to know their HIV status, while stressing the need to register with the state contributory health scheme as a sure way of ensuring rights to quality health.
He assured the people of government’s resolve to provide an enabling environment and support for HIV/AIDS activities in the state and called on the organised private sector, multinationals and philanthropists to assist in filling the funding gaps, so as to give the people renewed hope.
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