Nigeria’s AIDS control agency to highlight key findings

Ahead of the global commemoration of the World AIDS Day on December 1, Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) is set to host a national scientific conference on HIVprevention to showcase the achievements of the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) response in Nigeria.

NACAs Head, Corporate Communications Unit, Mrs. Toyin Aderibigbe, in a statement, said the Conference will take place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja on November 29 and 30 with participants from relevant government departments and agencies, research institutions, the private sector, develop partner agencies and representatives of people living with or affected by HIV.

Aderigbigbe said the Nigeria HIV Prevention Conference 2016 will bring together a range of experts to advance knowledge, present new research findings, as well as promote and enhance scientific and community collaborations. It will also be a platform for discussions on development of new strategies for addressing HIV, especially in the area of HIV prevention.

The agency also said it has inaugurated the National HIV/AIDS Stigma Reduction Strategy and a Simplified Version of HIV Anti-Discrimination Act 2014, with supporting verses from the Bible and Q’uran.

It said both documents are strategic to removing stigma and discrimination at all strata of society.

At a press briefing to announce the preparation for the conference, the Acting Director General of NACA, Dr. Kayode Ogungbemi while acknowledging the progress made in reducing HIV in Nigeria said the improvements have been a result of ‘’cumulative result of various activities ranging from awareness campaigns and other behaviour change interventions’’ but regretted that despite these gains over the decades stigma is still a worrying phenomenon ‘’which may constitute a major threat to the gains and outstanding opportunities to end the epidemic.’’

Represented by Dr. Emmanuel Alhassan, Director, Partnership Coordination, the DG noted that the signing into law of HIV Anti-Discrimination Act 2014 was a watershed in the fight against the pandemic and urged States not to introduce clauses that would impede the fundamental provisions of the Act with regards to human rights.

The landmark Conference organised by NACA is part of activities to commemorate World AIDS Day 2016, December 1, under the theme “Hands on for HIV prevention.”

Hands on for Prevention’, signifies the fact that Nigeria’s national response aligns with the present global direction of increasing HIV prevention efforts.
Rafat Salami