From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure

Ondo State Government disclosed on Thursday that no fewer than 124,817 pregnant women have been tested positive for HIV since 2017 in the state.

Governor Rotimi Akeredolu who disclosed this at the official launch of HIV Treatment Surge in the state organised by APIN Public Health Initiatives in collaboration with the CDC Nigeria and the United States Government, expressed the readiness of his administration torid off HIV/AIDS from the state.

Akeredolu, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Oladunni Odu, said the disease was no longer a threat to the wellbeing of Nigerians

He said the launch of HIV treatment surge campaign was another first of its kind in the state.

The governor also disclosed that almost 2 million condom caplets have been distributed in the state from 2017 until date.

He said out of the infected pregnant women, 926 have accessed elimination of Mother-To-Child-Transmission of the disease.

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‘Our government places premium on the improved living standard of our people where they live, work and play. It is our avowed determination to put a stop to all forms of preventable morbidity and mortality.

‘The HIV pandemic requires us to open our eyes and not dismiss HIV infection as someone else issue. It requires us to open our arms to people living with HIV and give them our solidarity and support.

‘I call on all international partners, Civil Society Organizations, religious bodies and other stakeholders to continue to join hands with government in order to achieve the ultimate goal.

‘As a people-oriented government, we shall continue to provide the enabling social and policy environment to facilitate HIV/AIDS intervention programmes,’ he added.

Speaking, the US Consul General in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, said the programme is helping to identify people living with HIV and place those identified on free life-saving treatment.

Pierangelo urged the Ondo State Government to eliminate all fees charged by healthcare facilities for nonessential services.