Kwara State AIDS Control Agency (KWASACA) has taken sensitization, counselling and testing services to Baboko New Market, popularly called Oja Tuntun in the Ilorin West Local Government Area of Kwara State.
Speaking with journalists during the exercise at the weekend, the agency's project manager, Dr Seleem Alabi, said the aim was to ensure wider reach for the intervention.
Represented by the head of outreach, Pharmacist Binta Adeyemo, the project manager reaffirmed need and strategic importance of carrying HIV/AIDS intervention to the doorstep of Ilorin market women and the market-goers so that testing services could be accessed and HIV sensitization and awareness could also be done for a multitude of people in the market place.
The project manager also said that present administration in the state was ready to ensure HIV/AIDS is fought to finish in the state through coordinating activities of the agency.
He appealed to all the Baboko New Market women and people of its environs to come out for HIV testing services which he said was the only sure-bet to ascertain one's HIV status.
He also said that there is need to identify all those carrying the virus in the environment so as to link them appropriately to care, adding that it would ensure they do not further transmit the virus to others; that being first UNAIDS target that the state is working towards achieving.
He urged those who might be newly tested as HIV positive not to panic, saying that HIV infection is treatable and not a death sentence.
Dr Alabi reassured that the state is blessed with competent health care workers to take care of treatment, saying that the charges are free.
"Although the treatment is lifelong, infected individuals could live a healthy life once the antiretroviral drugs are taken as prescribed", he said.
In his concluding remarks, he appealed to the generality of people to support the present government of Kwara in its drive to fight the menace of the HIV epidemic, warned people to desist from stigmatizing those living with the virus and urged people to rather support HIV positive to access adequate care that could prevent them from further spreading the virus.
In her response, the market women leader, Alhaja Adebara Ojatuntun, on behalf of all the women in the market, appreciated the Kwara state government through the efforts of the agency and pleaded with the agency to make such intervention a periodic exercise so that those who were unable to partake now could have the same opportunity next time.