NIMR, NMA mark World AIDS Day with free HIV screening
IT was a mixed reaction at the Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos States during a free Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) screening, organized by the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research, (NIMR) in collaboration with Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) to commemorate this year’s World AIDS Day.
Despite the lecture to enlighten those who turned out that preceded the screening, The Guardian observed that, at the point of screening, most people refused to be tested for HIV, but rather checked for other available tests.
Speaking to some of the participants, many were of the view; they feel healthy and no need to check for their HIV status, while others were eager in the queue to know their status.
One Mrs. Soe Weeny, a participant said, “I appreciate the programme, because it is an opportunity to know my HIV status, I know I have no problem, but I just want to confirm.”
Another participant, also explained; “it is a good chance, but honestly am scared, but since they have assured us of confidentiality, am ok.”
The theme for this year World AIDS Day is “Getting To Zero.”
Senior Research Fellow, NIMR, Dr. Paschal Ezeobi, disclosed, the institute records as many as 20 new cases that are adults every week, with fresh enrolments on daily basis.
“Since NIMR became a Federal Government HIV treatment site, we have enrolled more than 20,000 thousand patients,” he remarked.
He identified ignorance as well as the unwillingness of people to seek proper health behavior as part of the multifactorial reasons to the persistence of the scourge, and “that is why the importance of awareness cannot be over emphasized.”
Ezeobi mentioned funding as a major challenge of research in the country, saying “though the government is trying, more efforts is still needed from them and other agencies to support medical research because it is important.”
“We will be able to discover newer ways of controlling different diseases that are prevalent in a particular environment,” he stressed.
Chairman, Association of General Private and Medical Practitioners, Lagos state, Dr. Adeyeye Arigbabuwo, who represented NMA pointed out, “the scourge of HIV and the battle against it is still an ongoing one, because issue of stigmatization is still there and people still die of complication from HIV.”
“We are here to screen our people, so that they can know their status, we are also adding other important screening like the sugar level test and the Blood Pressure (BP) test to have incidental discoveries of diabetes chances, stroke and hypertensive cases,” he added.