THE CATHOLIC YOUTH Organisation of Nigeria (CYON) of St Gabriel’s, Mokola has had a two-day programme tagged “HIV/AIDS:We Are All Affected” to move Nigeria away from the number two position of people living with HIV/AIDS(PLWHA).
Every December 1 has been set aside to celebrate AIDS Day globally. It is evident that the HIV/AIDS pandemic is not over yet, though lots of efforts are constantly being directed towards combating the HIV scourge.
December 2 programme featured Rosary recitation and candlelight procession in honour of those who have died of AIDS and PLWHA. On 3 December, there were sensitisation talks facilitated by two Catholic medical professionals, Mrs Omotomilayo Oba, a pharmacist, and Miss Adedolapo Orogbemi, a nurse and public health practitioner.
Mrs Oba discussed HIV transmission, prevention and treatment strategies. The modes of transmission of the virus include sexual intercourse, blood transfusion, and sharing of contaminated sharp objects. She stated that abstinence from sexual activities, the avoidance of risky behaviours, use of personalised sharp instruments and post-exposure prophylaxis (for those who accidentally come in contact with HIV infective materials) will help check the scourge.
With the help of antiretroviral drugs, he said, HIV is no longer a death sentence. People infected with the virus can now stay healthy and live quality lives while using their medications and adopting good lifestyles. She also pleaded that we continue to promote the acceptance of PLWHA so as to completely eradicate stigmatisation.
Miss Orogbemi expounded the burden of HIV/AIDS with effects on the individual, family, society and economy. The fact that statistics places Nigeria as the second country with the highest number of PLWHA indicates that much work is needed to be done. She stated that ignorance or fear has made several persons not to attempt to know their HIV status.
She appraised the effort of the youth organisation for putting up the event as the sensitisation will somewhat contribute towards reducing the burden of HIV/AIDS.