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ONE DAY HIV/AIDS VCT TO MARK WORLD AIDS DAY

Federa Minstry of Transport, Bukar Dipcharima House, Abuja

REPORT ON THE ONE DAY HIV/AIDS VOLUNTARY COUNSELING AND TESTING TO MARK THE WORLD AIDS DAY HELD AT THE FEDERAL MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT, BUKAR DIPCHARIMA HOUSE, ABUJA, ON DEC 2ND, 2013.

Aids for Women, Adolescents and children International Organisation (AWACIO) in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Transport (FMT) held a One-day Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT) for staff of the Ministry on the 2nd of December to mark the World AIDS Day celebration, with the theme: “getting to Zero new infection”, “Zero AIDS related deaths” and “Zero stigma”.

The program was held on the ground floor of the Ministry building. The event was declared open by the Permanent Secretary of FMT represented by Mr. Oqua Eta, the Director of Human Resources. He used the opportunity to inform the FMT employees that the Permanent Secretary, Engr. Nebolisa Emodi, held the welfare of the staff in high esteem and thus created the need for the HIV/AIDS VCT program. He also encouraged the employees to perform the necessary HIV testing to know their HIV/AIDS status.

The event started timely with the registration of participants and opening prayer. Following the opening prayer, registration continued. HIV pamphlets by AWACIO, memo pads, and biros were given to Ministry staff at the registration desk to use during the pre-testing address and session. The compare continued the program with formal introduction of guests.

In his welcoming address for the Permanent Secretary, Eng. Nebolisa Emordi, Mr. Oqua Eta, urged the staffs to avail themselves the opportunity to get tested. He also commended the efforts of AWACIO in the fight against HIV/AIDS in the Ministry.

Explaining the activities of the day and its benefit, the Chief Executive Officer of AWACIO, Dr (Mrs) Claudia Okeke, said the exercise was necessary, considering the fact that HIV testing is the first step towards getting to “Zero new infections”,” Zero AIDS related deaths” and “Zero stigma”. She encouraged all the staffs of the Ministry to try and get tested.

According to her, “everybody has a role to play in the fight which is as simple as having an HIV test because knowing your HIV status will help you live a happier life. If you test negative, you will become conscious and therefore adopt preventive measures, and if you are positive, it is not the end of the world. There are follow up measures to ensure that you gain access to the drugs because they are free”. You can always live a normal life when you take the medication properly as scheduled. She used, as an example, Magic Johnson, the ex-NBA superstar, who revealed he had the virus over thirty years ago. He has been living healthy since then with the use of proper and timely medications.
There was a 5 minutes break in order to give the audience room for questions. The following were some of the questions asked by the audience and the answers provided:
Question: “We were tested in August this year, is there need for us to test again?
Answer
: No but if you feel you compromised yourself, then you should.

Question:“I heard a cure has been found for HIV, is it true? “
Answer
: Cure for HIV has not been found but research is ongoing to discover it.

Question: “Can one contact HIV through kissing?”   
Answer: No

These questions and more were addressed during the session.
The VCT process commenced immediately after the seminar within the FMT environment. The management of AWACIO made provision for caps to be given to staff that tested in appreciation for participating in the testing exercise.

A Leadership newspaper representative was present to cover the events of the day. The event was published on page 16, of the November 29, 2013 Leadership Newspaper.

Observations and Results of the VCT Program
A total of 200 participants registered for the event, 60 were in attendance for the seminar while over 100 FMT employees came out for HIV test. The large “turn-out” for the seminar by the staff of FMT was very encouraging because the venue was not large enough to contain the crowd. The break down of the result is as follows:

  • Number of people sensitized                                                                        over 200
  • Number of people that volunteered for counseling and testing                    100
  • Number of people who tested and received results                                      100
  • Number of females                                                                                        55
  • Number of males                                                                                          45
  • Number of people who tested positive to HIV                                               1

This makes a total of 6 persons within the Ministry since our last HIV exercise on August 2013.

  • Number of people who tested Negative to HIV                                              99.

FOLLOW UP AND THE NEXT STEP
We have attended, reviewed, and participated in the draft policy on HIV at the Ministry. We look forward to concluding the process and sensitizing the staff on the expectations of the Ministry. The result so far shows documentation of six employees who have tested positive for HIV. We want to ensure that these six individuals start their medications and proper medication regime as soon as possible.
AWACIO appreciates the opportunity given by the Ministry to ensure that the welfare of staff remains in good state.
We look forward to the completion of this process
Glossary
MC = Master of Ceremony
FMT = Federal Ministry of Transport
HIV = Human Immune-Deficiency Virus
AIDS = Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
VCT = Voluntary Counseling and Testing
AWACIO = Aids for Women, Adolescents and Children International Organization


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