2014 WORLD AIDS DAY…… Stigma and more (Nigeria)

The 2014 World AIDS Day was commemorated by various organizations, stakeholders and government, through several activities created to raise awareness and evaluate HIV/AIDS response performance of the previous year. In Nigeria, the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) supported by various partners mapped out a week-long program of events, which culminated in a roadshow around major cities in Abuja on the 1st and a symposium on the 2nd of December; with the theme : Close the Gap : Zero Stigma and Discrimination.

Other activities by partners included the World AIDS Day concert organized by OROL and raffle draw prizes for people who got tested by AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

While it was great to see a large turn-out of people who wanted to know their status through testing, it was rather sad that the much awaited signing of the anti-stigma ball into law , was delayed yet again.  The signing of the anti-stigma bill into law would have undoubtedly been a remarkable “gift” of commitment from the  Government of Nigeria to persons living with HIV/AIDS or better yet the icing on the cake for the 2014 World AIDS Day commemoration  ; especially since Stigma and discrimination continues to hamper HIV/AIDS response globally.

We may have commemorated yet another World AIDS Day successfully in Nigeria, but the unsigned anti-stigma bill still shows that we cannot go to sleep just yet.  Partners, Stakeholders, and Civil Society organizations need to ensure that we have an anti-stigma law in place , long before the next world AIDS Day. It is long overdue.

OROL Concert 1 OROL Concert 2 OROL Concert 3 NACA Roadshow 1 NACA Roadshow 2 NACA roadshow 3 AHF Nigeria 1 AHF Nigeria 2 AHF Nigeria 4 ???????????????????????????????

Photo Credit : NACA, OROL, AHF Nigeria

For more photos visit the following pages:

NACA – https://www.facebook.com/nacanigeria

OROL – https://www.facebook.com/orolfoundation

AHF NIGERIA – https://www.facebook.com/AHFNigeria

As 2014 draws to a close ,  Red Ribbon Advocates wish you a healthy season and a Stigma free 2015.

Stay Healthy and Play Safe!!!

Compliments of the Season.

-RRA

AHF NIGERIA ADVOCATES FOR AN END TO STIGMA….

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) recently launched an anti-stigma campaign in Nigeria tagged “HIV IS NOT SPREAD BY KINDNESS”

The campaign kicked off with a Behavior Communication Change (BCC) training for healthcare workers, followed by a community dialogue in twelve communities across Abuja, Benue and Kogi state.

Please visit the link below for details of the campaign.

http://bit.ly/1vjSY9T

AHF NIgeria Anti-Stigma Campaign

Photo credit : AHF Nigeria

Ending HIV/AIDS related stigma and discrimination is a collective responsibility. It begins with ME!

AIDS Healthcare Foundation  (AHF) – is a global organization providing cutting-edge medicine and advocacy to more than 340,000 patients in over 34 countries, including Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Liberia We are the largest provider of HIV/AIDS medical care in the U.S and work to avert the scourge of HIV/AIDS and other public health challenges around the world

ELIMINATING MOTHER-TO-CHILD-TRANSMISSION – NIGERIA

On the 13th of November, 2014 Nigeria launched the National “elimination of Mother-To-Child- HIV transmission (eMTCT) operational plan at the International Conference Center, Abuja.

The operational plan (2015-2016) was launched by President (Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan), who has reiterated that no Nigerian child should be born of HIV. He was represented by the Vice President of Nigeria (Arch. Namadi Sambo).

An operational plan such as this is commendable , as Nigeria currently accounts for about 30% gap in Mother-To-Child-Transmissions globally; a yawning gap that begs for speedy intervention as we work towards an AIDS free generation.

Prevention of Mother-To-Child transmissions (PMTCT) in Nigeria has recorded some level of success, most notably the reduction of prevalence rate from 5.8 per cent in 2001 to 4.1 per cent in 2010, however  more needs to be done.

Some of the factors mitigating against PMTCT in Nigeria include : structural challenges, inadequate services at Primary Health Care level, many pregnant women choosing to visit traditional birth attendants for delivery services, and poor attendance of pregnant women at antenatal services etc.

We look forward to the implementation of the operational plan, because it would definitely put Nigeria on the map of countries championing their HIV/AIDS response.

We will keep you updated on the implementation of the operational plan.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS – Y+ STEERING COMMITTEE

 

Y+, the Global Network of Young People Living with HIV, Steering Committee

 

Background

Y+ is transitioning from an Advisory Group of the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+) to a global network of young people living with HIV. As part of the new governance structure, a Steering Committee (SC) will be created to govern the network.

The current Y+ Advisory Group is supporting this transition process, including an open and transparent process to select the SC. The former Y+ Advisory Group will eventually transition into an informal mentorship body and will not have any decision-making power.

Y+ seeks young people living with HIV who are passionate about making a difference in their community, country, region and globally to apply to be part of the inaugural Y+ SC.

 

Steering Committee role and responsibilities

The role of the Y+ Steering Committee (SC) is to guide the development of the Y+ network, determine programmatic priorities, make decisions through a transparent process and ensure different communities of YPLHIV from all regions are represented in Y+ decision-making. The SC

is composed of young people (under the age of 30) living with HIV. The Steering Committee’s mandate includes, but is not limited to:

 

  • Make decisions on behalf of the Y+ network;
  • Provide strategic guidance and oversight to the Y+ network;
  • Elect an Advisory Board Member to GNP+ on behalf of YPLHIV;
  • Ensure meaningful engagement of YPLHIV in strategic areas of the HIV response, such as knowledge management, advocacy, leadership and the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and young people living with HIV.

 

Membership terms will be for one year with a possibility of a second year based on a peer-led performance review. Y+ seeks individual and organization representatives from the following regions – two people will be selected per region:

 

  • African Region
  • Latin America Region
  • Asia Pacific Region
  • Caribbean Region
  • European Region
  • North America Region

For more information on this please visit the website :  http://www.gnpplus.net/call-applications-y-global-network-young-people-living-hiv-steering-committee/

 

Applications are due by 13 November 2014!

Attapon (Ed) Ngoksin

Key Populations Officer: Global Advocacy

Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+)

 

 

RED RIBBON STAR OF THE MONTH – Fredrick Adeboye

The Red Ribbon Star (RRS) of the month is dedicated to celebrating individuals who are living with HIV and are open about their status. Their journey is shared to inspire people, that you can live a meaningful and productive life regardless of your HIV status. 

This month, Fredrick Adeboye shares his 9 years journey in a refreshing, relaxing but yet educating manner. From ARVs, to adherence, to disclosure and living positively…… 

TITLE : ARVs ARE A SECOND CHANCE TO LIVE:

Antiretroviral drugs or ARVs as they are commonly known is another shot at life, a second chance to live. Being a drug that must be taken for life, it is important to adhere strictly to its daily prescribed dosages. This is my 9th year on drug support. I was placed straight on drugs when I discovered I had HIV because I was already very bad, I must have had it several years before I became seriously sick. I swallow my life tablet every 12hrs, twice daily. When I look back, it is hard to know it’s been some 9 long years. On few occasions, early when I just started drugs, I missed my timings, and sometime skip my drugs, but that was then. I will not advice anyone to do that for any reason.

There are two common lines of ARVs regimen in Nigeria, if the first line fails; you are moved to the second line. However, the first line will only fail when you fail to adhere strictly to your prescribed dosage. The 2nd line is more demanding, it entails swallowing more drugs, while some of the drugs requires that they are refrigerated. It places more demands on you, demands that can be avoided with adherence.

People skip their drugs for several reasons; it might be for lack of money, which can prevent access, because, sometimes, you may not even have money to get to the clinic. It might be as a result of stigma, people might avoid you when they see HIV drugs with you, and I know several people who have had to hide to swallow the pills. We must be mindful that taking ARVs comes with lots of demands. First, ARVs demands you eat good food, have enough time to rest, and you may also face bouts of side effects when you just started, before your body adapts to the new situation.

I am very healthy and highly active. I work in Lagos as a Proof Reader, and I also report at times. My job is a demanding job, I am not treated differently from those who are HIV negative, but, wait a minute, how many of my colleagues even knew their status? You see, people are still scared stiff of conducting an HIV test!

My day starts actually with my drugs at 6.30AM. I repeat at 6.30 in the evening again. A key aspect of being on ARVs is the constant medical check-ups we do to monitor the success of our treatment. I am happy to announce that I am a symbol of treatment success in Nigeria. Now, my viral load is undetectable. If I approach the church now, they will pronounce me cured, that they have performed a miracle. But people must know HIV has no cure. A lot of people will abandon their drugs with claims of divine healing. When they are about dying, they rush back to their drugs. The HIV miracle from God is the ARVs, because it is working. You no longer have to die from being HIV positive. My viral load has been undetectable for several years.

Our medical check-up involves what we call bleeding; where our blood is taken every six months to measure the CD4 cell count, viral loads and other indices. Drugs are dispensed on a monthly basis, and on each occasion, we measure our weight. The weight is important as it is an indication of adherence. Weight loss is a common sign that something is wrong with a person on ARV. It is a sure sign to care givers to take further action.

I do everything that everyone does. I go to my barber, I eat out at canteens, and I visit the library, and hang out with friends. It’s a normal life. What I do not to forget to take my drugs is to go around with the drugs. I keep them in a drug case. My case is divided into two sections. One section is for my supplements, while the other side houses my ARVs. I also set an alarm on my phone as a reminder.

FA

Nine years! I have come a long way. I thank God for a second chance at life. You know, with the advances in treatment, I have a strong feeling that I will live long enough to see the end of AIDS.

—– By Steve Aborisade (Contributing editor)

Next week our Red Ribbon Advocate (RRA) returns : celebrating advocates and activists in the field of HIV/AIDS. 

Do you have a story you would like to share? send us a mail on redribbonadvocate@gmail.com