Anambra State Government through the State Ministry of Health has partnered with the Achieving Health Nigeria Initiative, to enrol no fewer than 200 Persons living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) into the State Health Insurance Scheme (ASHIA).
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr Afam Obidike disclosed this during a press briefing in Awka on Thursday, to mark World AIDS day in the state.
The press briefing was organized by the Anambra State AIDS Control Agency (ANSACA) in collaboration with the State Ministry of Health and partners to commemorate 2022 World AIDS Day.
December 1 of every year is set aside every year by the World Health Organization (WHO), to remember those living with HIV/AIDS globally, and to remind the world that the killer disease still exists without cure.
The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Equalize To End AIDS; Equal Access To Prevention and Treatment.”
The State Health Commissioner in her remarks, reiterated the commitment of Gov. Chukwuma Soludo-led administration towards ensuring that people living with the disease get access to affordable healthcare services without being stigmatized.
He said the state has increased HIV treatment sites in the state from 104 to 1,017 in the last eight months.
“HIV self-testing kit is available for people who do not want to be tested outside, and the Anambra State government is working tirelessly to educate people on what they need to know about the disease, how to prevent it,” he said.
He described HIV/AIDS to be one of the diseases of public importance, and assured that the State government would continue to engage partners and well-meaning individuals to assist people living with the disease.
He explained; “It transmits from person to person through body fluids during sexual intercourse, mother to child during pregnancy, labor and delivery, breast feeding, blood transfusion and risky sexual behaviours.
“Using the Anambra state’s most recent HIV prevalence of two point four percent, and projected population of over six million people in the state, and a spectrum projection for 2022, they have a testing target of over 90,000 but has so far reached over 42,000.’’
According to him, Anambra is one of the states in Nigeria with high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, and the high prevalence indicates that more people in the state are being tested on a daily basis.
Dr. Obidike said the ministry in collaboration with implementing partners set up two community teams per local government area in the state that conducts free HIV testing and counselling in communities, churches and markets across the state.
“To mark this year’s event, we have set up multiple testing points for free HIV testing at strategic locations, road walk at major cities of the state, including Awka, Nnewi and Onitsha.
“We have embarked on massive public sensitization, aimed at reducing new infections, educating the society on modes of transmission and improving HIV counseling and testing services.
“We have also taken the HIV prevention and counseling to higher institutions of learning, National Youth Service Corps camp.
“May I use this opportunity to appreciate our partners, AHNI, AHF, UNICEF, UNAIDS, CHAI, and IHVN for their numerous support to the state’s HIV/AIDS response,’’ the Commissioner said.
Dr. Obidike maintained that in limiting some of the challenges faced by people living with HIV/AIDS, the state in partnership with partners enrolled the 200 people living with the virus into ASHIA.
Present during the briefing Include, the Anambra State AIDS Control Coordinator, Dr. Afam Anaeme, the Executive Director, Anambra State AIDS Control Agency (ANSACA) Mr. Johnbosco Ementa, Dr. Adaora Anosike of UNAIDS.