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Periodic Check-up is the Answer to HIV/AIDS Pandemic Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Henry Ekwuruke, Nigeria Mar 31, 2007
Health   Interviews


In an interview with Mrs. Ngozi Uwasomba, BSN, the Coordinator of Ikwuano Health Unit and HIV Curriculum Expert, she laid bare her thinking about the response to HIV and how it can be curtailed and eradicated. She stressed that "periodic check-ups and education are the answers to HIV/AIDS eradication".

Exerpts from the interview:

Henry: HIV/AIDS is no doubt a pandemic in Africa today. Irrespective of the much costly awareness and preventive programmes, why is it that the disease is spreading like wildfire in the harmattan?

Mrs. Ngozi: Many reasons are responsible for the spread of the disease HIV/AIDS, which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives not only in Nigeria and Africa, but the world over. One of the reasons for the spread of the disease is that it attacks the sexually active members of the population. This is no doubt between 45 to 50 percent of the world’s population. Again because of the rate of mobility brought about by the world being a global village, the disease spreads faster than imagined. One more reason why the disease seems uncontrollable is because many people would not want to know their HIV status. I want to tell you that there are some people who would rather prefer sudden death than being told that they are HIV positive. All of those reasons are the result of improper education on the HIV/AIDS scourge on the part of parents, teachers, educators and health workers, and even the leaders.

Henry: What would you consider to be the proper education needed?

Mrs. Ngozi: You see, people think that HIV is synonymous with a death sentence. No, no, this is far from it. In fact, let me even tell you that HIV, if discovered at the early stage and managed, will bring about two things: One, it will not lead to full blown AIDS; two, an HIV patient well managed will develop an automatic immunity which will fight against the disease in his or her lifetime and live as long as desired. It is like chickenpox that doesn’t happen to someone more than once in a lifetime. If we put this in our sub-conscious mind, then willingly finding out about our HIV status will not be a problem. A situation where you have been infected with the virus but ignorant of the infection, there is every tendency of passing it to many people, especially if you are the type that has multiple sex partners. I wish to inform the general public through this medium that as our contribution to national and international development and in response to President Obasanjo’s call that all Nigerians should undergo HIV testing, the clinic is offering free HIV testing and counseling. Let them use the opportunity to know their status and live well.

Henry: You recently took your enlightenment and awareness campaign on HIV/AIDS to the church; does that not sound strange to common people?

Mrs. Ngozi: If I understand you well, you are asking why it must be mentioned among Christians. It is very true that Christians are cautioned not to indulge in sex outside marriage and in premarital ones. We should not forget that HIV/AIDS is like an evil wind that blows no one any good. No one can be certain about the direction in which it will blow. Outside sexual intercourse, other transmission agents include: blood transfusions and the sharing of injection needles, blades or other sharp objects with an infected person. So everybody from all faiths, including Christians, need to be informed, educated and cautioned more about the trend for their security.

Henry: What is your advice to those in government on the ways to eradicate the HIV scourge?

Mrs. Ngozi: I want to specially appeal to all, first the wives of our leaders in government to take the lead on this campaign, beginning for the ward level to the Federal. For them to embark on a massive and local effective awareness campaigns through various mechanisms to spread the message to every nook and cranny of their community. There is a saying that “a problem known is a problem half solved”. Let us know about this problem in it’s totality and work towards a harmonized response for a lasting solution to it. But my message rests on that fact that periodic checkups are a laudable answer to the eradication of the HIV/AIDS from our lives compound to education.



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Henry Ekwuruke

Henry Ekwuruke is Executive Director of the Development Generation Africa International.

Doris Carter | Sep 15th, 2018
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