In furtherance of its efforts to intensify community engagement and participation in HIV/AIDS related issues in all parts of the State, the Lagos State Aids Control Agency (LSACA) has provided free HIV Testing Services (HTS) to residents of Epe Local Government Area (LGA).
The HTS outreach, held in collaboration with the Oloja of Epeland, HRM, Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun, Arolugbade II, at the premises of Epe LGA, was targeted at achieving the Global Epidemic Control of HIV/AIDS by the end of 2020.
Speaking during the event, Oba Animashaun expressed appreciation to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who doubles as the Chairman of the agency, for always ensuring Lagosians receive quality healthcare services.
The monarch passionately appealed to Lagos residents to take full advantage of the continuous massive outreach campaign initiated by the agency.
He said: “I am urging Lagosians to get tested for HIV/AIDS at the statewide ongoing outreach programme by LSACA, and also on a quarterly basis at any of the 288 HTS centers and 286 Prevention-of-Mother- to-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) locations across the State”.
He emphasised that the outreach campaign did not only stress the fact that HIV/AIDS is real, and that knowing ones status as early as possible is key to living a healthy life but also ensures the understanding that testing positive to the virus is not a death sentence as there are 142 Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) centers in the State.
Speaking in the course of the HTS outreach, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), LSACA, Dr. Monsurat Adekele, said the outreach was a strategy to achieve the UNAIDS 90-90-90 initiative that stipulates 90% of people living with the virus should know their status, 90% of HIV positive individuals should be initiated on antiretroviral (ART) drugs and 90% of individuals on antiretroviral (ART) drugs should achieve viral suppression.
She disclosed that with HIV Prevalence of 2.0%, Epe is a priority LGA in the State, as it happens to be among the five LGAs that requires urgent HIV interventions.
Adeleke reiterated that HTS outreach afford individuals the opportunity to know their status early, get advised on appropriate steps to prevent transmission to other people, if the test result is positive, as well as actions to be taken to stop the progression to AIDS through necessary lifestyle modifications and counseling.
She said with the current unrelenting efforts of the agency at sensitizing and testing people across the State, achieving the eradication of HIV/AIDS virus in the State by 2030 is achievable and realistic.
In view of the gradual easing of the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Adeleke used the opportunity to sensitize participants both on Covid-19 infection, prevention and control measures with strict emphasis on the practice of hand hygiene, wearing of face masks and social distancing.
With the turnout of over 500 persons for the HTS exercise, she expressed appreciation, describing Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun, Arolugbade II as a passionate and committed traditional ruler that always mobilize and ensure his people know their status which is in tandem with the global epidemic control.
Responding, the Executive Chairman, Epe LGA, Hon. Adedoyin Adesanya commended the State government and the Agency, saying the outreach is a continuous manifestation that the Sanwo-Olu administration has brought quality health management closer to the citizenry.