We can end AIDS, if we end inequalities – BenSACA

By Jovitta Iorshase

The Executive Secretary, Benue State AIDS Control Agency (BenSACA), Dr Ephraim Tyo has charged all stakeholders, implementing partners,  community and religious leaders among others to rise to the clarion call to “Equalize” which is the 2022 World AIDS Day (WAD) theme, in order to stop all barriers like stigma and discrimination, militating against successful access to HIV/AIDS services in the state.

Dr Tyo gave the charge on  Wednesday during the first planning meeting for the 2022 World AIDS Day, held at the BenSACA Board Room, Makurdi.

He explained that the theme for this year’s commemoration which is celebrated December 1 annually, seeks to correct that which is not equal or unfair, speaks availability and sustainability of HIV/AIDS services for every one, who needs it, to reform community norms, laws and policies against people living with HIV/AIDS, key and marginalized populations.

“The theme ‘Equalize’ encourages community members, people living with HIV/AIDS, key adolescents and young people, as well as other marginalized population to adopt and use equalised messages to highlight and sensitise on forms of inequalities faced so far, so that actions can be taken for redress,” he explained.

The ES further stressed that “the emergence of COVID-19 in the last two years has compromised HIV/AIDS financing which affected dedicated prevention programmes like condoms, lubricants distributions, particularly proposed for adolescents, young girls and women affected by incidence of HIV/AIDS.”

“We have just eight years before the 2030 Zero HIV/AIDS pandemic target globally, hence the economic, social, legal and cultural gaps must be addressed urgently, in order to rescrew the displaced knots to realign those missing links for total eradication of the pandemic. We can end AIDS, if we can end inequalities that limits it eradication,” he concluded.

Dr Tyo also appreciated the team spirit that has existed between BenSACA and partners as evident in response achievement in the HIV/AIDS pandemic control and sued for continuous nurturing and sustainability.

Responding, representatives of implementing partners, civil society organizations all pledged their support and contributions to make this year’s commemoration better than previous ones.

Highlights of the meeting were good will messages from the civil society organizations, implementing partners among others, who all pledged to give in their optimal support and  contributions to make this year’s WAD commemoration the best, as well as presentation of the past and present support templates for support, and formation of sub-committees.

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