The United States Embassy in Nigeria, in collaboration with the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA), will soon scale up the campaign against HIV/Aids in Taraba state, which has the highest prevalence of HIV cases of the six states in the North east of Nigeria.
The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Kathteen Fitzgiboon stated this in Jalingo, the Taraba state capital when she paid a visit to the Taraba state Governor, Darius Dickson Ishaku.
She said they were in Taraba State on a two-day working visit to assess the HIV situation in the state and get necessary information, which would assist them to determine the areas to collaboration with the state government and the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA).
“Based on the statistics available to us, 40,000 persons in Taraba State have tested positive for HIV and only 28,000 of these persons are on medication, so we are here to find those missing persons who are not on medication and also provide necessary support that will reduce the risk of contracting HIV in the state, in collaboration with the Taraba State Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA),” she said.
The US Ambassador noted that efforts to curb HIV would require a collaborative effort and political will to be achieved.
Fitzgiboon said there was need for partnership with the Taraba State government so as to establish an enabling Environment for the success of the Campaign.
The Taraba State Governor, Darius Ishaku said his government has embarked on a massive campaign against HIV in the state, which has helped to reduce the state’s HIV prevalence from 10.5 % in 2012 to 2.9% in 2018.
“The Taraba State government through the state Ministry of Health has been doing a lot of campaign to educate the people on the need to know their status and we have motivated staff who are also providing quality health care services, which is responsible for the reduction of the HIV prevalence from 10.5% in 2012 to 2.9% in 2018. We are ready to reduce these figures to 0.1 percent and I believe this partnership with the United States Embassy will help us to achieve this,” Governor Ishaku said.
The Taraba state governor urged people in the state to go for the HIV test to know their status, explaining that it was the first step in overcoming HIV and reducing its prevalence in the state.
For his part, the Director General, National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) Dr. Gambo Gumel Aliyu said they were in Taraba State to encourage people to seek solution to HIV by first of all knowing their status and getting enrolled for treatment.
He added that people should no longer hide their status, rather they should approach health facilities for test and treatment.