World Aids Day: UNFPA fetes with Benue IDPs

In order to ensure the healthy living and access to quality healthcare services by the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Benue, over one hundred adolescence and young persons have received free counseling and testing for HIV/AIDs at the IDP camp Gbajimba, courtesy of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The coordinators of UNFPA programme in the state who took the campaign of operation know your status round the nooks and crannies of Gbajimba town in Guma local government area, our correspondent gathered was to create awareness on the need for the host community and IDPs to know their status.

The gesture was made possible with the aid of the Benue state Planning Commission, Ministry of Health and Human Services and the Benue State AIDS Control Agency (BENSACA) to commemorate the 2019 World Aids Day celebration.

Some of the UNFPA agents who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said that after counseling and testing, that those found positive would be placed on treatment through the provision of escort services.

Speaking at the occasion, the representative of the ministry of Health and Human Services, Aondowase Apinga explained that the focus of the 2019 World AIDs day celebration in the state is on adolescent and young persons between the ages of 10 and 24.

He however appealed to parents and caregivers to always give their children sex education so that it will enable them to equip themselves with sexual knowledge, the disadvantage of indulging in early sex as well as sex without protection to avoid unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDs.

While calling on the government to aid those found positive in the course of counseling and testing in the area with the mandatory user fee, he attributed the death of some HIV/AIDs patients to the inability to pay user fee before placement on drugs, especially the adolescent, which he said was paramount.

In a welcome address, the permanent secretary of planning commission, Moses Alevah who admonished the IDPs as well as the host community not to allow the available opportunity pass them by, added that those found positive will immediately be placed on drugs to avoid other opportunistic disease that will take advantage and if not treated on time, would result to resistant to drugs thereby leading to the death of patient.

The representative of BENSACA, Cletus Ambe who is also the coordinator of Guma local government Aids Control Agency (LACA) attributed the drastic drop of Benue in the HIV/AIDs prevalence rate from 14.1 to 4.9 to communities who have over the years been advocating for expanded access to all forms of HIV and reproductive health services.

Earlier, the kindred head of Gbajimba township, Ndzorov council ward of Guma local government area, Chief Felix Agbaka, who appreciated the state government and the donor agencies that put their resources together to ensure the wellbeing of his subject, urged all to come out and know their status so as to stop attributing their ailments to witches and wizards.

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