By Peter DURU, UMakurdi
The Special Adviser to the Benue State Governor on HIV/AIDS and other Communicable diseases Mrs. Maria Idu has disclosed that no fewer than 400,000 persons have been identified as carriers of the dreaded HIV/AIDS virus in the state.
Speaking at a Media briefing to mark this yearâ€™s World AIDS Day in Makurdi, the Adviser noted that the spread of the disease in the state must be checked in order to stem its ravaging effects on the productive sectors of the stateâ€™s economy.
Idu who stressed that the state government has not failed on its part to ensure that hospitals are stocked with Anti Retroviral drugs urged the people to undertake mandatory test and counseling in order to know their status.
She lamented that the most avoidable factor driving the HIV epidemic in Benue State is stigma and discrimination among people living with the virus.
The Adviser moreover disclosed that the state government has so far established 22 treatment sites across the state in order to avail carriers of the various free medication and counseling.
She further posited that government has taken the challenge posed by the virus especially amongst mothers and their new born babies by establishing 52 mother- to- child prevention and treatment centers in parts of the state.
Mrs. Idu asserted that more of the centers would be established next year to cater for infected mothers and babies across the state.
According to her, the state government has provided a leeway for a collaboration between the National Poverty Eradication Prograame NAPEP and the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS NPLWH in order to provide assistance to the network and ensure a better life for the infected.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Benue State NUJ Chairman Mr. Terlunmun Nyifan urged journalists in the state to team up with government in the renewed fight to stem the spread of the disease in Benue State.