From Uche Nnorom, Makurdi
Over 188, 000,persons are said not to have access to HIV/AIDS treatment in Benue State.
This is even as the prevalent rate in the state has dropped to 5.3 percent according to the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, NHIIS.
Benue State Acting Coordinator, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AHF Dr. Uduak Effiom disclosed this at a press briefing yesterday in Makurdi as part of activity to celebrate World AIDS Day with the theme: ‘Community Makes a Difference’, noted that the State is second behind Akwa Ibom with 14 percent prevalent rate.
She also, decried the high rate of AIDS amongst the adolescent aged 20-24 put at 3.9 percent ,attributing this to lack of adequate information and increased rate of cross generational sex.
According to her, this age group are usually prone to a lot of reproductive issues hence the need to give them the right information to make informed decisions.
“Benue has recorded significant improvement in pursuit of HIV/AIDS. Though there is high number of people with unmet needs. The rate of new infections is also, high
“We want to focus on the adolescent by giving them a voice. We want to hear from them on issues as well as give them access to services.
“We want to empower them with skills to stand firm and contribute meaningfully to the society. Right now, we are operating in nine local government areas and 11 comprehensive centers. We are targeting 50 adolescents who would be empowered to spread the message
Also, speaking the Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria Steve Aborisade intimated that the foundation operates in 43 countries in the world working with women and young people.
He stressed the need for the state government to keep the promise and increase funding as well as domesticate more resources on HIV/AIDS especially in the rural areas.