The Executive Secretary of Civil Society for HIV/Aids in Nigeria (CISHAN), Dr Walter Ugwuocha disclosed that the COVID -19 lock down has significantly decreased access of vulnerable population to HIV testing.
While stating that the Nigerian AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (2018) results shows that Nigeria is lagging behind in achieving the 1st 95, of the 95-95-95 target by 2030.
He made the disclosure at a media round table for the commencement of the National Campaign for HIV self testing in Nigeria.
According to him, prior to the lock down, 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.
“As responsive Civil Society Organization, CISHAN which is the national coordinating civil society organization has taken it as an organizational task to support the national government to reach the first 95 of the global target. The strategy is focused on creating awareness and demand for HIV self-testing in Nigeria. Through its over 5000 members located in the 774 local government areas of Nigeria”.
He noted that CISHAN volunteers identified multiple individuals who seeks for where to get tested, a gap that could be addressed through access to self-test kits.
In the same vein, he added that CISHAN with the support of the media will facilitate access to HIV self-testing kits in both rural and hard to reach areas/populations.
“This campaign is code named HIV Self Testing Campaign, which is getting 10 Million Nigerians, to know their HIV Status through HIV Self Testing”.
“The campaign will lead to increase in the number of Nigerians who have tested for HIV which is 10million by end of 2020. As well as identification of the newly diagnosed HIV positive individuals and linking them to treatment in partnership with the Lead Implementing Partners for each state “.
The Chief Executive Officer of Centre for Integrated Health Programs, Dr Bola Oyeledun said that her organization in collaboration with other bodies have tested over 2 million people .
” We work in synergy with other organizations in different states of the country. We have reached over 1,800 vulnerable children in Lagos, Kogi, Benue Kaduna,and Gombe state.We are have also engaged in awareness campaign to reach a wide number of people. We are testing vulnerable orphans in some Local Government Area in Lagos State.