Spread The Message Not The Virus- LSACA
The Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA) has called on the residents to spread the message of HIV prevention, not the virus, and embrace the HIV Self Testing procedure. The Chief Executive Officer of the Agency, Dr. Monsurat Adeleke, made the call at a symposium with the theme: “United to end AIDS in the midst of COVID-19: Get Tested” to mark the Y2020 World AIDS Day at the Oriental Hotel, Lagos. She noted that the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the implementation of HIV interventions, stressing that the State has, however, doubled its efforts to eradicate new HIV infections by 2030. According to her, the Agency is currently reviewing HIV-related activities in the approved work plan to ensure efficient use of the limited resources since global support for HIV response is declining. Dr. Adeleke explained that COVID-19, which impacted negatively on the economy and health infrastructure also affected HIV interventions, adding that the political unrest resulting from the #Endsars protests as well as HIV Stigma and Discrimination are some of the challenges the Agency faced, in addition to the vulnerability of the key population group.
She outlined the Agency’s achievements during the pre and post-COVID-19 period including sensitisation of 150 visually and hearing impaired persons on HIV prevention with Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials in braille for the blind community members as well as the provision of Free HIV Self-Test Kits, Condoms and IEC materials to 31 Youth Centres. "The Agency commissioned a One-Stop-Shop (OSS) clinic in Ikorodu LGA, a comprehensive non-discriminatory HIV/AIDS services centre for key populations. It also partnered Lagos State Ministry of Health (LSMOH) and International Association of Providers of AIDS Care (IAPAC) to train 235 HIV/AIDS service providers on HIV service delivery and stigma elimination among others", Adeleke said. Earlier, Dr. Omobolanle Johnson, representative of the Lagos State First Lady, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibironke Sanwo-Olu at the event, commended the efforts of LSACA in the State HIV response, which is geared towards achieving a Greater Lagos, She stated that the COVID-19 situation posed a severe challenge across every sector of the State, noting, however, that the present administration is determined not to rest on its oars with every policy and activity being continuously reviewed and improved upon. Dignitaries present at the event include Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, Lagos State Head of Service; Prof. Akin Abayomi, Lagos State Commissioner for Health; Dr. Erasmus Morah, the Director of UNAIDS, Nigeria; Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, the Abisogun II, Oniru of Iru Kingdom and the Coordinator, Network of People Living with HIV, Mr. Patrick Akpan among others.