Since 2007, the Kogi State HIV/AIDS anti-discrimination and blood safety bill which could have helped in reducing the virus to the barest minimum is yet to be passed by the Kogi State House of Assembly.
Although the prevalence rate of the virus in the state has reduced from 1.8 to 1.4% based on the 2012 National AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey (NARHS), passing the bill to law will contribute greatly to getting zero infection.
Celebrating the 2014 World AIDS Day (WAD), a symposium was organised by Neighbour without Borders (NEBO) foundation, Women With Voice (WWV) and Visionary Youths of Nigeria to mark the day.
Speaking on the topic, HIV/AIDS in Kogi State, getting to zero; The River between, the team leader of NEBO, Dr Simon Akogu, said the only way to attain zero level in the fight against the scourge is through passage of the bill, Universal coverage for HIV issue as well as mobilisation of community groups to enable people know their status.
He commended efforts of American government and donor agencies towards the cure of the disease in Nigeria, while appealing to stakeholders not to relent in their efforts in order to attain zero stigmatisation, HIV infection and HIV related death.
In his remark, the Director General of the State Broadcasting Corporation, Reverend Ogala Sani, described information as vital to attaining zero level of infection. While congratulating the organisers for their efforts, Rev. Ogala warned youths against unnecessary use of Social media because of its adverse effect.
He assured the organisers that the corporation will continue to promote all activities aimed at reducing the scourge of the disease and called on people to go for voluntary testing to enable them know their status.
Earlier in her welcome address, the representative of WWV, Grace Ben Kato, commended the effort of government and stakeholders in the fight against the virus. While calling for more commitment, she stated the need for individuals and organisations to make available necessary information available to them to the media to enable them inform the public appropriately.
The high point of the day was the debate between Bishop Delisle and Lokoja Local Government Secondary School on; Getting to zero level is attainable, as papers were presented by various resource persons in the health sector.
Source: The Graphic