A non-governmental and advocacy organisation, Brothers Across Nigeria (BAN), has harped on the need for regular testing as an effective measure to combat the HIV and AIDS scourge in Nigeria.
BAN stated this during its Health Walk, which was recently held in Abuja with the aim to create awareness on the need for Nigerians to do a regular test to know their HIV status.
The Northern Zone Coordinator of the group, Mr. Adewale Odusanya, while speaking at the event, said regular testing would enable Nigerians to know their status and consequently reduce the disease burden on the country.
According to him, knowing ones status will make him/her aware of the options available on how to live with the disease if positive and how to prevent it if negative.
He, however, expressed concern that despite the popularity of HIV globally, many people are still not aware of the importance of regular testing, adding that regrettably, little effort is being shown in that regards.
Odusanya said this informed the Health Walk organised by BAN, which was supported by MTN Nigeria and Aids Health Foundation (AHF).
He explained that: "This Health Walk is to sensitise the people and create awareness of the dangers of HIV/AIDS in the society and the need for regular testing.
"HIV is a disease that we are all susceptible to, so, we decided to support the government because it cannot do it alone."
Odusanya further stated that BAN has recorded huge successes in its campaign against HIV and its scourge, adding that not less than 2,000 people have been given free HIV testing, while some others have been provided with counseling services.
Also in his remark, the Chairman of BAN Sport Committee, Mr. Obinna Duru, disclosed that free HIV testing would be provided for all Nigerians resident in
He said HIV can be lived with, and that it's not a killer diseases like hepatitis, cancer among others, but harped on early testing as the best bet to tackle it.
He, however, frowned at the stigmatisation against persons living with HIV/AIDS, pointing out that the disease cannot be transferred by talking to a patient, kissing or touching an HIV patient but only transferred through bodily fluids during sexual intercourse, sharing of un-sterilised needles or razors.
"We should not run away from persons living with HIV; there is no need for it, and we should accept them as our brothers and sisters, this is what we are preaching to the world," he said.
Duru, therefore, advised that abstinence, use of condom or being faithful to one's partner are common ways to prevent the spread of the disease.
A participant at the event, Mrs. Busola Oyedeji, applauded the initiative, saying the awareness created by BAN reminded her of the need to ensure regular testing, noting "that prevention is always better than cure and a good way to prevent HIV is regular testing."
The Sales Representative of MTN Nigeria, FCT Sub-region, Ziya-ulhaq Dambatta, while commending the inventiveness against the scourge of HIV in the society, said MTN partnership with BAN is part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) to ensure that Nigerians live a healthy life.
"This is a good initiative for a lot of people who have participated are eager to know their status. The counseling being given to those who tested positive is also good and helpful," he said.
Dambatta, therefore, advised government and non-governmental bodies to tow in the same line as a way of giving back to the society.
On his own, the FCT chapter BAN Coordinator, Nnamdi Ezeomah, explained that BAN has worked over the years to fight diseases in Nigeria as well as helping the less privileged in the country, adding that the group is poised to contribute its quota to the development and growth of the country any time the need arises