Published: Mon, December 03, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

World AIDS Day 2018, "Know your status", celebrates 30th anniversary

World AIDS Day 2018,

The Director General, National Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr Sani Aliyu, on Saturday called on Nigerians to get tested to enable them to know their HIV status.

South Africa is known to be one of the African countries with a high prevalence rate of the disease.

This year's theme for World AIDS Day, which is marking its 30th anniversary today 1st December, is "Know your status".

2000 - The United Nations adopts the Millennium Development Goals which include a goal to reverse the spread of HIV and AIDS. "This day provides an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the cause of HIV prevention and treatment, draw attention on the global HIV epidemic, to raise awareness and remember those who have died, to show solidarity with the people living with it, and to celebrate survival and health", said an organiser.

2012 - The oral prophylactic drug PrEP is approved for HIV-negative people to prevent sexual transmission of the virus. Stigma and discrimination still deters people from taking an HIV test. Access to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern. "Many people still only get tested after becoming ill and symptomatic".

In order to step up efforts towards ending AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2030, PAHO/WHO, along with UNAIDS, recommends the implementation of combination HIV prevention, which is a person-centred approach that combines biomedical and behavioural interventions with measures that foster an enabling environment to overcome access barriers to health care.

The good news is that there are many new ways of expanding access to HIV testing.

She said: "The most important thing in Nigeria's HIV response agenda is for all citizens to know their status".

"As far as government is concerned, we look after everybody who has tested positive for HIV irrespective of whether you reside in the rural or urban area". Globally, 15- to 24-year-old women are twice as likely as young men to be infected.

He however maintained that the people had a greater role to play in tackling the disease in Nigeria by submitting themselves for the free test and treatment services made available.

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