HIV: Anambra govt decries stigmatization in state

The Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Ogochukwu Okpala has expressed worries about the stigmatisation of HIV/AIDS patients in the State.

Okpara urged members of the public to stop stigmatising people living with HIV and AIDS virus, saying that the disease today can be described as the easiest to manage.

Dr Okpala who was addressing journalists in his office at the Jerome Udoji Secretariat Complex, Awka said, “Statistically speaking, you are more likely to die from another ailment than HIV/AIDS because medications are getting better and people are living longer.”

The commissioner noted that more awareness programme was needed in the state and country at large to control the spread of the virus.

He noted that, in 1998, Anambra had one treatment centre but currently the state had about 98 centres for control of the virus, and has been discharging its duties well through the collaboration of the state Ministry of Health with Anambra State Agency for Control of AIDS, ANSACA.

The commissioner explained that “In Nigeria as a whole, one of the principal targets is to achieve `zero infection’ but no state in the country has yet been able to achieve that.”

Dr Okpala urged the public to always go for tests, which according to him would help the victims to receive adequate treatment from established centres.

He praised partners like UN and others that had contributed to fighting the war against HIV/AIDS.

The commissioner commended Gov. Willie Obiano for granting approval for the creation of more centres that provide treatments for people living with the virus.