56,350 people living with AIDS in Cross River – SACA DG
Calabar – The Director-General of the Cross River State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (SACA), Mrs Irene Aniyom, says that 56,350 persons in the state are currently living with the HIV virus.
Aniyom made the announcement in an interview with journalists on Tuesday in Calabar.
“Today in the state, we have 56,350 people living with the virus; we have to update it on a regular basis since 2005,” she said.
According to her, the infected persons are receiving anti-retroviral drugs at different centres in the state.
She said that SACA had formed a group known as “Cross River Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS,’’ to monitor the infected persons.
“And in this network, we have 80 support groups of people living with the virus, with a minimum of 25 persons in each group,’’ she said.
Aniyom said that many people were now aware of the diseases, due to the activities of SACA and other groups involved in the campaign against the spread of the disease.
“If you go to various HIV testing and counselling centres across the state, you will find many people coming out to know their status,’’ she said.
The director-general said that SACA had also established Local Action Committees on Control of HIV/AIDS (LACA) in each of the 18 Local Government Areas in the state, headed by the chairmen of the councils.
“This is because we found out that the disease spreads faster in rural areas, ‘’ Aniyom said.
She said that the monitoring and evaluation unit of the agency conducted regular monitoring of the activities of LACA and collated data on their activities.
“Also, chairmen of the Local Government Areas pay N200,000 to their LACA every month to facilitate their activities.
“While on our part we give them N3,000 monthly to fuel to facilitate mobility in their campaigns,’’ she said.
She said that the agency had also identified faith-based organisations to assist SACA in carrying out campaigns in churches and mosques in the state.
According to her, SACA is also collaborating with the state’s ministry of education to carry out HIV/AIDS campaigns in schools.
“It is on record that Cross River was the first state in Nigeria to develop “Family Life HIV/AIDS Curriculum’’ in every school and students write examination on the subject.
“So in Cross River today, pupils and students in both primary and secondary schools discuss HIV/AIDS comfortably. And this has helped in reducing the spread of the virus,’’ she said. (NAN)
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