The Jigawa chapter of the Network of Persons Living with HIV and AIDS (NEPWAN) says it has embarked on sensitisation to create awareness among the people, especially potential couples.
This is with a view for them to knowing their HIV status before marriage.
Malam Abubakar Muhammad, the Chairman of the association, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Tuesday in Hadejia.
According to NEPWAN boss, the exercise is also designed to enlighten and educate the people on the importance of HIV test and screening, to curtailing the scourge.
He said that the exercise was sequel to the law enacted by the State House of Assembly, making HIV/AIDS test compulsory for intending couples in the state.
Muhammad further that the rate of transmission of the scourge could be attributed to the lack of knowledge on couples’ HIV status.
“ The exercise will encourage people to go for HIV counselling and testing as well as curb transmission of the condition, especially through marriages.
“The law will also control stigma and other forms of discrimination against persons living positive with HIV, especially in the rural communities.
“I call on people to go for HIV testing and counselling to know their status and control the scourge,’’ he said.
Muhammad also called for practical measures to enforce compliance to control the scourge, stigma, promote care and support services to HIV persons living positively with HIV.
He said that the association was working in collaboration with the State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA) and development organisations to create awareness on HIV screening and ensure effective control of the scourge.
NAN recalls that the Jigawa House of Assembly had enacted a law compelling couples to know their HIV status before marriage.
Under the provisions of the law, defaulters would be sentenced to three years imprisonment or pay a fine of N500, 000.
It also prescribes appropriate punishment for the person charged with discrimination, stigmatisation or misgivings against HIV positive living persons.
Also, statistics from SACA indicates that about 4, 000 persons are receiving Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ARV) in the state.
It shows that about 60, 000 persons are tested positive with 90 per cent of those screened in the rural communities being women.
The statistics adds that the agency has distributed 70, 000 HIV test kits, in the last one year to health facilities to enhance treatment of the scourge (NAN)