Dr Bawa Jetta, the Etsu of Jikwoyi, a suburb of Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) in the FCT on Thursday led residents of his community to get HIV test.

Jetta and many residents got tested in his palace at an event organised by the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria (IHVN), a Non-governmental Health Organisation, to commemorate the 2022 World Aids Day.

”I lead the way to get tested because I want to encourage residents of the community to get tested and know their status.

“I want to encourage everybody to for for the test. I made myself available for  the test because sickness is not a respecter of anybody.

“With this test I am confident now because the doctor that conducted the test on me said it is negative,” he said.

The traditional ruler said he underwnet a similar test three months ago.

”Given the opportunity again, I will get testes. I encourage my subjects to follow suit and do the same exercise so that everybody will know his/her status,” Jetta said.

The traditional ruler also urged Nigerians yet to take COVID-19 vaccine to do so.

“I took my own vaccine about two years ago and  have completed the doses. I have the certificate.

“I encourage people not to take health issues lightly because life has no duplicate. We should do our best.”

Jetta, who commended IHVN for bringing the campaign to his domain, urged Jikwoyi residents to take advantage of the programme to get themselves tested for HIV/AIDs as well get COVID 19 vaccine.

He called for more awareness on HIV test and treatment at the grassroots to prevent the spread of the sickness.

“This is the best way of doing it. We should not even wait until on HIV/AIDs international days,” he said.

The Regional Manager, IHVN FCT, Dr Danjuma Sanda, urged Nigerians to have regular tests for HIV and immediately begin treatment if tested positive.

Sanda, who was represented by the Technical Lead IHVN FCT, Doreen Ahuche, said being tested positive to HIV does not matter because there are drugs that enable infected persons to live a normal life.

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“Everyone is also encouraged to get tested for HIV. We should all know our true status because the earlier we identify ourselves and commence treatment the better for us the.

“It Is only when you start treatment that we are able to end AIDs. AIDs is actually when the disease has progress to stage four.

“So if we are able to test on time, access treatment on time, our patients will be able to live a good live.

“As they take these drugs, they become virally suppressed. Once a patient is virally suppressed and he will not easily transmit the HIV virus to another person,” he said.

Sanda said that the IHVN’s awareness programme to commemorate the World AIDS day was to encourage the public to get tested, know their HIV status and if they are positive commence treatment immediately.

“The theme for this year celebration is ‘Equalise to end AIDS’. We actually need to let the community know that we need to put an end to discrimination, stigmatization against those who are positive, those who are infected, or affected by HIV.

He said the purpose of taking the celebration to the grassroots was to create awareness among the people, whom a lot of them don’t go to the hospital except when they are sick.

He that the institute has been able to assist over 100,000 households in FCT through its HIV programe 2015.

The AMAC Area Council Action Committee for Aids (ACACA) Desk Officer, Mrs Lilian Gonji, said that the Jikwoyi was selected because the community wanted to have a feel of this year celebration.

She expressed optimism that the event would lead to more awareness and reduction in spread of HIV in Abuja.

The Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, commended the IHVN for event.

Mustapha represented by his Personal Assistant, Adamu Shittu, said it was important for citizens to know their status.

He said those infected should not see it as a death sentence but go through the treatment.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that highlights of the event include free HIV test, free COVID-19 test and vaccination, free missiles vaccination for children among others.(NAN)