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World AIDS Day: Foundation advocates sustainable financing, end to inequalities

“We know COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the entire world; however, the foundation is drawing attention of the public not to forget HIV that has been with us for the past 40 years.

By Justina Auta

Dr Echey Ijezie, Country Programme Director, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), an NGO, has advocated sustainable financing and end to inequalities as an approach to end HIV and AIDS by 2030.

Ijezie said this at the commemoration of the 2021 World AIDS Day organised by AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), on Wednesday, in Abuja.

He said that the World AIDS Day (WAD), celebrated Dec. 1, annually seeks to refocus the world on the AIDS pandemic and the people living with or affected by HIV globally.

He said that the day was also to remind people of the importance of access to HIV testing, prevention and treatment, as well as a bold action against inequalities.

“We know COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the entire world; however, the foundation is drawing attention of the public not to forget HIV that has been with us for the past 40 years.

“Economic, social, cultural and legal inequalities must be ended, if we are to end AIDS.

“We also need sustainable financing in achieving the academic control of HIV and AIDS, we are confident that if we all put our efforts together globally we can end it,’’ he stressed.

Ijezie further appreciated the effort of the government, partners and funders who have made it possible to place many people on treatment around the world and those receiving lifesaving drugs.

Mr Steve Aborisade, Advocacy and Marketing Manager, AHF Nigeria, said in commemoration of the 2021 WAD, the foundation would be distributing one million condoms across seven states where AHF is operational in Nigeria.

According to him, the event was targeted at the youths who are more susceptible to contracting the virus and rarely protect themselves.

“ It is important that we focus on young people, which is one of the gaps we have noticed in the Nigerian intervention.

“We advise everyone to get tested but more importantly the youths, they need to stop indulging in risking behaviors, take charge of their lives and protect themselves.

Aborisade, however, appealed to the leaders and stakeholders to pay attention to HIV and AIDS and do all it takes to defeat the pandemic.

Lovet Awodi, a Youth and Deputy Coordinator AHF Girls Act Abuja chapter, disclosed that she had been tested while encouraging youths to get tested and know their status.

“If you are HIV positive, be on drugs but if negative you can protect yourself by using condom or through abstinence,’’ she said.

Highlight of the event include creating awareness of the virus, which was spearheaded by adolescents through music and dance show, testing of HIV and distribution of condoms.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that AHF is the largest global AIDS organisation currently provides medical care and services to over 1.6 million people in 45 countries worldwide, including Nigeria. (NAN)