Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has said that the state will from the 1st quarter of 2021 commence aggressive community testing to identify all those living with HIV/AIDS.
The governor disclosed this in Owerri during the commemoration of the World AIDS Day 2020, organized by the State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (Imo SACA), with its stakeholders, on Tuesday.
The Governor who was represented at the occasion by the state Commissioner for Health, Dr Damaris Osunkwo, expressed his commitment to the health of Imo people, especially those living with HIV/AIDS while appealing for all hands to be on deck in the quest to completely eliminate the virus before the year 2030.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of Imo SACA, Dr Charles Durueke said the World AIDS Day, celebrated 1st December every year, afforded all actors in the fight against HIV/AIDS, the opportunity to review existing strategies and renew their commitment towards eradication of the pandemic.
He emphasized on the need for periodic testing, adding that the current focus in Nigeria is on resource mobilization to provide test kits and ensure that every citizen gets tested, as according to him, it is time to begin in-country resource mobilization to ensure sustainability of the current efforts, especially now that international funders are withdrawing their resources.
Durueke solicited for more encouragement from the state government for the agency, through budgetary allocations and release, to support resource mobilization, towards achieving the target of eliminating the virus in the state by year 2030.
The agency and its stakeholders engaged in a sensitization road walk which started from government house roundabout, through the length and breadth of Wetheral Road, Owerri and later anchored at city primary school, venue for the celebration.
They carried placards with various inscriptions, such as; Keep it safe and sweet: use condoms, HIV stigma: the real killer, HIV is here and it’s on the match: stop it, HIV is still the real killer: spread the word, stop the virus, stop HIV prep now: you are either infected or affected, show love, among others.
This year’s celebration has as the theme “United to end HIV/AIDS in the midst of COVID-19: Get Tested”.