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10Million Nigerians To Know Their HIV Status Through HIV Self Testing , Says CiSHAN

Mr. Walter Ugwuocha, the Executive Secretary , Civil Society for HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (CiSHAN) said they are set to get 10Million Nigerians to know their HIV Status through HIV Self Testing.

While saying that the Nigerian AIDS Indicator and Impact Survey (2018) results showed that Nigeria was lagging behind in achieving the 1st 95 of the 95-95-95 target by 2030.

He gave this hint during a media round table for the commencement of the National Campaign for HIV Self Testing in Nigeria, on Tuesday in Abuja, while adding that the lockdown arose from Covid-19 had also significantly decreased access of community members general, key and vulnerable population to HIV testing.

Ugwuocha said Tyhis campaign is intended to getting 10Million Nigerians to know their HIV Status through HIV Self Testing.

According to him; “Prior to the lockdown, there had been challenges with thinking around how to address the gap with populations access to HIV testing and identifying the unreached HIV positive population.

“This require re-strategizing in ways that communities and community members can take the leadership to drive HIV testing.

“The need to evolve community driven HIV testing strategies was further re-affirmed by the anecdotal field reports by CISHAN during the lockdown”, he added.

He further stated that, CiSHAN had coordinated a national effort in partnership with Positive Action for Treatment Access (PATA), Association of Women Against AIDS in Nigeria (ASWHAN) and the Association of Positive Youth in Nigeria (APYIN) to work with identified community members/advocates in cohorts to deliver anti-retroviral drugs to PLHIV in need of it during the intensive phase of the lock down. CISHAN volunteers identified multiple individuals who asked for where to get tested: a gap that could be addressed through access to self-test kits.

As responsive Civil Society Organization, CISHAN which is the national coordinating civil society organization has taken it as an organizational task to support the national government to reach the first 95 of the global target.

The strategy is focused on creating awareness and demand for HIV self-testing in Nigeria. Through its over 5000 members located in the 774 local government areas of Nigeria, CISHAN with the support of the media will facilitate access to HIV self-testing kits in both rural and hard to reach areas/populations.

The campaign will lead to Increase in the number of Nigerians who have tested for HIV which is 10million by end of 2020; Identification of the newly diagnosed HIV positive individuals and linking them to treatment in partnership with the Lead Implementing Partners for each state; and Increase in uptake of PrEP by persons at substantial risk of HIV infection.

Speaking on the update on Community Panel Discussion on HIV Self Testing, he said, CiSHAN has organized community panel discussion on HIV Self Testing for the past 15th weeks Week1: NACA DG & UNAIDS Country Director discuss the overall HIV Response and the opportunities that HIV Self Testing Presents.

Since embarking on the Community Panel Discussions, CISHAN has achieved the following: Increased and renewed interest in and support for HIVST in Nigeria: Promoted dialogue between civil society, policy makers and partners on HIVST ; Identified advocacy agenda for CISHAN and its members on how to support the government push its HIVST program; and Increased Civil Society awareness of their role in achieving the first 95 of the global 9595-95 agenda.

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