As Muslim faithful’s celebrate Eid-el-Kabir all over the world, the National Agency for the Control of Aids has urged Nigerians to reflect on the significance of this celebration and its lesson as it relates to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care.
The Director General of NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu while wishing all Muslims in Nigeria and around the world a happy Eid-el-Kabir celebration, said that imbibing the lessons that come with this festive period can help eliminate stigma and discrimination against persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS which is needed to end AIDS epidemic in Nigeria.
“If Nigerians obey the command of God, the HIV epidemic in Nigeria will become a thing of the past, as pre-marital sex, extra marital affairs and casual sex among young people will not be happening as we learn and become educated regarding dangers engaging in risky behaviours during festive season”, he said.
He also appealed to muslims to reflect on the significance of the celebration by showing love to one another in obedience to Almighty Allah.
“Show love and care to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The level of Stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS is worrisome. Showing love and care to those infected and affected will encourage more Nigerians to get tested and treated and allow many people to be more open about their HIV status thereby making the disease less frightening and dreaded. This will also make the fight against HIV easier since the more people get treated for HIV the less others get infected and affected by HIV”, Dr. Aliyu said.
He said that as true servants of Allah, Nigerians are expected to protect their neighbors as much as they protect themselves.
The DG also appealed to citizens to get tested for HIV virus.
“Do all that is necessary to remain negative if tested negative, commence immediate treatment if tested positive so that others don’t get the virus from you, avoid Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV virus by encouraging all pregnant mothers to attend Antenatal clinics and ensure they give birth in government approved designated hospitals or with trained birth attendants.”
He added that adherence to treatment reduces the level of HIV in the blood to below detection which prevents transmission to others.
“The sacrifice and sharing of ram and other related animals is significant in the celebration of Eid-Kabir and so should we imbibe this lesson; to share correct and factual information on HIV/AIDS among our friends, family, peers, and community members. This remains the only avenue to reduce ignorance about the disease and ensure we all are equipped with information to prevent HIV infection be ensuring Treatment Care and Support of Persons Living with the virus”, the DG added.
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS, (NACA), is the agency saddled with the responsibilities of coordinating the HIV/AIDS multi sectorial response in Nigeria.