The Edo State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (Edo SACA) has urged residents to take advantage of the testing centres across the state to ascertain their Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) status.
The call was made by the Executive Director, Edo SACA, Mrs Flora Oyakhilomen, at an event organised by the agency to commemorate the National HIV Testing Day in Uselu Market, Egor Local Government Area in the state.
Mrs. Oyakhilomen called on residents in the state to visit testing centres to ascertain their status and access counselling services, adding that testing positive was not a death sentence.
She said, “free HIV testing is ongoing across the state’s 18 LGAs, with nine testing centres spread across Benin City, the state capital. Edo SACA will not relent in its responsibilities to sustain awareness in the state, as part of measures to reduce its prevalence rate.”
Oyakhilomen reiterated Governor Godwin Obaseki’s commitment to reducing the scourge through intensive enlightenment campaigns in the state, noting that the campaigns are designed to encourage more people to get checked and access care and support.
The Board Chairman, Edo SACA, Dr Alex Okoh, reiterated the need for people to be tested, adding that persons who test positive will be directed to the nearest centre to access free treatment and anti-retroviral drugs.
Chairperson, Egor LGA, Mrs Eghe Ogbemudia, hailed the initiative and commended EDOSACA for the drive to increase awareness and provide free testing and counselling services to residents in the state.