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CiSHAN: 900,000 people living with HIV/AIDs unaccounted for

The Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN), has raised concerns that about 900,000 persons living with HIV/AIDS in the country could not be accounted for.
The Executive Secretary CiSHAN, Mr Walter Ugwocha, made this known at a virtual media round table, which held on Tuesday in Abuja, to flag off commencement of the national campaign for HIV self-testing in the six geopolitical zones of the country.
Ugwocha said based on the 2018 Nigeria AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey, Nigeria was lagging behind in achieving the 1st 95 of the 95-95-95 target by 2030.
While noting the campaign was focused on creating awareness and demand for HIV self-testing, identification and early treatment of newly diagnosed HIV positive individuals, he said it was also geared towards the mandate of reaching about 10 million people with HIV self-testing kits by the end of 2020.
He urged federal, state governments, relevant agencies and development partners to as a matter of urgency disseminate HIV Self Testing guidelines and increase their level of support by procuring the HIV self testing kits and making it available at public settings and at communities to boost access to HIV testing.
In his words: “Out of the 1.9million people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, about 900,000 are yet to show up for treatment and are currently unaccounted for.
“We will be going to a state in each of the geo political zones; Kogi, Delta, Gombe, Kaduna, Abia and Lagos, to help close the existing HIV testing gap.
“The COVID-19 lockdown significantly decreased access of community members general, key, and vulnerable population to HIV testing. Prior to the lockdown, there had been challenges with thinking around how to address the gap with populations access to HIV testing and identifying the unreached HIV positive population.
“The need to evolve community-driven HIV testing strategies was further re-affirmed by the anecdotal field reports by CISHAN during the lockdown.”

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