Caritas-Nig. magnify campaigns against stigmatisation of HIV/AIDS patient
By Bridget Ikyado
The Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN) has urged Nigerians to jettison all forms of stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS.
The Executive Secretary of the foundation, Rev. Fr. Uchechukwu Obodoechina, made the call on Wednesday in Abuja’
He spoke on the sideline of a regional planning meeting and peer review session of the Faith-based Approach to Increase Identification, and Treatment of HIV+ Children (FAITH-Project) implemented by Caritas-Nigeria.
Obodoechina said that the fear of stigmatization associated with HIV/AIDS should be discarded, adding that it is not a death sentence
“People are now living with HIV today; they enjoy their happiness with possibilities of living out the entire lifespan as God has so destined.
“More interestingly is the understanding that a HIV infected man and woman can give birth to a child without the child being infected.
“This is one beautiful development and achievement of science that will reduce the stigma and then make couples also happy in their marriage.
“It is important to put up these messages to our people that the stigma that was originally associated with this disease should no longer be the case,” he said.
Obodoechina said that the drug to suppress the viral load is free coupled with free and voluntary random testing in all communities.
Earlier, the Director-General of National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr Gambo Aliyu, said the foundation had made a significant impact on the lives of countless individuals and communities.
He appreciated the unwavering commitment and invaluable partnership with Caritas-Nigeria in the ongoing battle against HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.
Aliyu was represented by the Programme Officer of NACA, Ms Alagbe Oluwaseun.
He said that the strides jointly achieved in combating the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing care to those affected have been remarkable.
“Your tireless efforts in raising awareness, offering vital healthcare services, and advocating for prevention and treatment initiatives have played a vital role in saving lives and fostering hope.
“As we move forward, we are excited to reaffirm our commitment to this critical cause.
“We pledge our continued support to Caritas and its initiatives, vowing to stand side by side in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“Together, we can further amplify our efforts, reach more vulnerable populations, and work towards a future free from the burden of this devastating disease,” he said.
Also speaking, the Director of Care and Treatment of FAITH-Project, Dr Lanre Olaiwola said that the project is implemented in Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and in Côte d’Ivoire.
He said that the project which is implemented in Abia, Enugu and Abia is aimed at sensitising the people against stigmatising people with HIV.
Olaiwola also said that the project is aimed at informing the people with the virus of the medical options available to them.
He said that the approach is training religious leaders to develop customised informed messages on HIV to preach to the people.
Olaiwola said that they also engage children in schools, pregnant women and youth groups to drive the anti-stigma message to the grassroots.
Mr Gabriel Undelikwo, the Community Support Advisor of United Nations AIDS-Nigeria, urged Caritas-Nigeria to double its efforts and upscale the ongoing awareness.
He said there are still untapped opportunities among clerics as well as state actors and other partners. (NAN)