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2022 World AIDS Day: NGO sensitises IDPs at Wassa resettlement Camp on HIV/AIDS

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2022 World AIDS Day: NGO sensitises IDPs at Wassa resettlement Camp on HIV/AIDS

In commemoration of the 2022 World AIDS Day annually marked on Dec. 1, a Non-Government
Organisation, APIN Public Health Initiatives, sensitised Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at Wassa Camp in Abuja
to educate them on HIV/AIDS.

The Voice Media Trust (VMT NEWS) reports that World AIDS Day is annually celebrated in UN member states since 1988 as an international day
dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic, caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who died of the disease.

The celebration has “Equalise” as the theme for 2022.

AIDS is a chronic immune system disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which damages the immune system
and interferes with the body’s ability to fight diseases.

HIV can be spread through contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.

There’s no cure for HIV/AIDS, but medications can control the infection and prevent disease progression and people taking HIV
medications may not have other symptoms for years.

The sensitisation at the Wassa Camp in Abuja, therefore, had hundreds of women and not more than 30 men to commemorate the 2022 World AIDs Day.

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Dr Plang Jwanle, the Associate Director, Clinical Services, APIN Public Health Initiatives, urged policymakers and Nigerians to boldly
recognise and address the inequalities holding back progress in ending AIDS and equalise access to essential HIV services.

Jwanle said “we commemorate World AIDS Day with the global community to show our shared commitment and responsibility
to reduce the impact of the disease in our communities.

“We want to show that we are aware of this public health issue and want to participate in raising awareness through activities that would
impact our people positively by engaging the IDPs.”

He said that young people ages 14 and above were most likely to practice and engage in unsafe sex, “so, this activity is to raise awareness
that HIV/AIDS is real and a cause for concern in the country.

“If the IDPs are proponents of the HIV/AIDS message, it is expected to be more impactful and useful to them and in turn, as carriers of the HIV/AIDS
message, they can spread the word to raise awareness and reduce the scourge.

“We believe that this information can reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria.

“Abstinence is the key to reducing the spread of HIV among young persons. Knowledge on its own is not power; but what we do with the knowledge
is what makes it powerful.”

According to him, the fear of stigma associated with HIV/AIDS makes some men to delay getting tested for the disease. 

Jwanle said that men who were diagnosed with the virus at an early stage have better chances than those who show up late.

Responding, the Chairman of Wassa Resettlement, Mr Geoffrey Bitrus, commended the NGO for the sensitisation,
saying that the settlement is the largest IDPs camp in the FCT.

Bitrus said there are over 5000 IDPs currently living in the camp, with 70 per cent of whom women and children who depend
largely on donations, subsistence farming and daily jobs for survival.

He said the sensitisation was the first time most of them would be educated on HIV/AIDS.

He added that “so far, we have not recorded any casualty from HIV/AIDS in the camp, but many had measles and cholera, with many women suffering from toilet infection.

“A lot of us are suffering from ulcer, malaria and typhoid; you know many of us were displaced by insurgents in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states and had to come here for safety, so we are not feeding well, the children here are suffering from different sicknesses.

“Our major challenge is water. Although we have about seven boreholes, only three are working, we do not have electricity to pump water so we get water from the stream,”
Bitrus said.

He also said that the lack of basic amenities including safe water and health facilities is affecting the population, with only two health community workers, whom he said were discouraged by the lack of drugs that result in them making use of their resources to save lives.

He, therefore, called on government and well-spirited Nigerians to come to their aid.

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