Greetings to the well-cultured people of Rivers State and welcome to another episode of RivEthics on Radio, our character-building weekend show. Remember that discrimination against someone not define who they are. It defines who you are. This episode is in commemoration of the United Nations World Aids Day coming up today, December 1.
The theme of this year’s commemoration is “Know Your HIV Status”. Around the world, 37 million people are living with HIV, the highest number ever, yet a quarter do not know that they have the virus. Significant progress has been made in the AIDS response since 1988, and today three in four people living with HIV know their status. But there are still miles to cover as the latest UNAIDS report shows, and that includes reaching people living with HIV who do not know their status and ensuring that they are linked to quality care and prevention services.
HIV testing is essential for expanding treatment and ensuring that all people living with HIV can lead healthy and productive lives. It is also crucial in empowering people to make choices about HIV prevention so they can protect themselves and their loved ones.
Unfortunately, many barriers to HIV testing remain. Stigma and discrimination still deters people from taking an HIV test. Access to confidential HIV testing is still an issue of concern. Many people still only get tested after becoming ill and symptomatic.
Knowing your HIV status has many advantages. It is an essential entry point to HIV treatment, prevention, care and support services. People who test positive for HIV should be linked immediately to antiretroviral therapy to keep them alive and well and, when viral load suppression is reached, prevent transmission of the virus. There are over 200 testing centres in Rivers State and others testing innovations being introduced by the State Ministry of Health and its partners. The United Nations plans to avert 28 million new HIV infections and end the AIDS epidemic as a global health threat by 2030. It all starts with individuals knowing their status by undergoing the HIV test, and if positive, submitting themselves to treatment.
Let us listen to our guest speaker as he sheds more light on this subject. He is Dr. Leeleebari Sibor, a Program Manager, Public Health Specialist and Infectious Disease Expert in the Rivers State Ministry of Health. Please enjoy the episode.
Our decent Rivers People, please remember to always let your manners speak for you.
God bless and keep you and your families and God bless Rivers State.
From Her Excellency,
Justice Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike,
The Wife of His Excellency,
Nyesom Ezenwo Wike CON. GSSRS. POS (Africa).
You can also listen to and download the Pidgin English version of this Episode below