The Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), has commenced the scale-up of the massive community free HIV Testing Services (HTS) outreach in 20 Local Government Areas across the five divisions of the State, in order to stall the spread of HIV and AIDS amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
In one of the outreach programmes held at the Folashade Tinubu-Ojo Modern Market, Alaba-Oro Phase One, in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government, the Chief Executive Officer of LSACA, Dr. Monsurat Adeleke, stated that Ajeromi LGA has the fifth highest HIV prevalence by LGA in the State, according to the Nigeria HIV/AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (NAIIS 2018) report.
Dr. Adeleke noted that in line with global trends, the Agency is working towards achieving HIV epidemic control by the year 2025, which is expected to lead to the eradication of new HIV infections by the year 2030, through the Joint United Nation Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) revised 95-95-95 initiative.
The outreach, she said, was targeted at the youth who constitute about 43% of the State’s population, and members of the market community in the Badagry division of the State.
She revealed that residents in Lagos can access free HIV-testing service from any of the 288 facilities across the State in order to know their status towards achieving the first 95% of the revised 95-95-95 initiative, stressing that the main goal of the campaign was to strengthen the HIV/AIDS prevention interventions and care for those that tested positive.
Commenting on the free HIV Testing Services (HTS) outreach, the Medical Officer of Healthcare for Ajeromi, Dr. Ahmad Amina, enjoined the youth to take advantage of the free HTS to know their HIV status as the disease is no longer a death sentence.
In the same vein, the representative of the Iya-Oloja, the Public Affairs Officer of the Alaba-Oro market, Mrs. Adedayo Ideraoluwa, appreciated the Government for the kind gesture and urged the youth, market women and men to take advantage of the free HIV Testing Services and the Information, Communication and Education materials as well as condoms distributed at the outreach for HIV prevention.
Mr. Babatunde Kassim, speaking on behalf of youths in the area, appreciated the State for the free HTS, imploring all youngsters in the community to come out en-masse to take up the free HIV Testing Services.
He also promised to encourage and mobilise more youths to increase participation in the free HIV testing and uptake of consumables.