Indications emerged, yesterday, that over 14,200 Benue youths are infected and currently living with the dreaded HIV/AIDS. President of the Association of Young People Living with HIV/AIDS, APYIN, Fabian Tor, made this known at the 2016 World AIDS Day celebration in Makurdi with the theme, Hands on for HIV prevention.
Tor said: “The development is a serious issue but our members are committed to ensuring that the virus does not move from us to another, or from one person to the other. “In fact, we are working hard to ensure that anti-retroviral drugs get to our members, that the virus is suppressed and that the infected live happily.”
In his speech, Country Director, United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, Dr. Camara Bilali, said the world body identified Benue State as one of the states with high prevalence rate of the virus.
Represented by Mrs. Ashir Wende, Project Manager, World Bank Assisted HIV/AIDS Programme Development Project, Benue Office said: “The UNAIDS would continue to lead and inspire the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.”
“The UNAIDS is well positioned to provide necessary technical assistance to ensure that 90% of people living with HIV know their status, 90% of those diagnosed with HIV are accessing sustained anti-retroviral treatment, ART, and 90% of those on ART achieve durable viral suppression.”
Governor Samuel Ortom, who was represented by the Commissioner of Health and Human Services, Dr. Cecilia Ojabo, in his speech, assured that his administration would continue to partner relevant agencies to stem prevalence of the virus in the state. Executive Secretary of Benue State Agency for the Control of AIDS, BENSACA, Dr. Dura Gideon, said the fight against the virus was a collective responsibility, if the fight must be won.