The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said the Human Immune Virus/Acquired Immune Deficency Syndrome should not be feared.
A health facilitator with the HIV/AIDS Prevention Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs. Abraham-Onu, urged that the syndrome should not be given a sacred status but treated as other diseases.
She spoke at an awareness seminar on the disease for students of Lagos State Agricultural Training Institute, Araga, Epe. She said, “HIV/AIDS should not be feared. It becomes difficult to manage when it is given such status.
“When you know the modes of its transmission, you are able to protect yourself better. Even after a person is confirmed to be positive, this should not be seen as the end, but a new beginning to life. Such people, through the use of anti-retroviral drugs, can enjoy healthy life-styles as non-carriers.”
A project manager with the unit, Ms. Halimat Adeniji, explained that HIV/AIDS prevalence was on the increase. She said ignorance, poverty, behavioural and biological factors were responsible for the spread of the syndrome. She said, “According to UNAIDS, the prevalence rate has moved from 4.5% in 2005 to 5.6% in 2012. We have to sensitise people to reduce its spread.”
A person living with HIV, said knowing one’s status early enough would help in effective management of the disease. He said, “Stigmatising and discriminating against HIV/AIDS carriers kill faster than the disease itself. This is because the will to live is affected; the carrier will be forced to resign to his or her fate.”