DIRECTOR General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Gambo Aliyu, has charged Nigerians to know their HIV status in order to be properly positioned to help control the spread of the virus.
According to him, early diagnosis is made possible through testing and counselling which is available free of charge at government hospitals and centres nationwide.
Dr Aliyu, who spoke ahead of the 2022 National HIV Testing Day which holds today, June 27, said the exercise is aimed at creating awareness and education about HIV.
He said the day aims to sensitise the most at risk for HIV infection on places to get HIV testing services and link those positive to care and support available to them.
Noting that testing is the gateway to HIV services, Aliyu said the theme for this year is HIV Testing is Self-care.
“The earlier someone is diagnosed as living with HIV and initiated on life-saving treatment, the better chances of controlling the virus and preventing the spread. People can live long and healthy lives with early detection of HIV and proper treatment and care”.
Further, Aliyu explained: “HIV testing is free and confidential in all government hospitals. To locate HIV testing center closest to you, call HIV Toll free no 6222 between 8am and 8pm Monday to Friday. HIV self-tests is also available and can be done at people’s convenience. “We can end and prevent the spread of HIV if we know our HIV status.
Nigeria has a national HIV prevalence of 1.4 per cent among adults aged 15-49. An estimated 1.9 million people live with HIV in Nigeria.