Vanguard (Lagos)

4 December 2012

Nigeria: 'Less Than Five Percent of Nigerians Adopt Voluntary HIV Testing'

"People do not come in voluntarily to screen for HIV. People don't have the culture of voluntary testing. That is why we should do more about advocacy and reorientation of the elite. Less than 5 per cent of people come in voluntarily for HIV test except when it is time for blood donation or accident cases.

In this part of the world, you are talking about reorientation and advocacy, The social stigma put on HIV is making people afraid to come voluntarily to check. That is why we are trying to orientate educationally and encourage people to come in to check their health status.

And during that check we check things like HIV, hepatitis, typhoid etc. If you pin people down on just HIV and hepatitis, they will run away. Another problem is lack of counseling. When you do not counsel people, they run away from treatment. But when you counsel, let them know they can be there for as long as possible. Show them people that are living and surviving with the virus."

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