Springaid International Development-SAID-on Monday 28th October 2016 attended the Imo State Prevention T W G meeting held at E C E W S office at M C C / Uratta Road Owerri Imo State. This is a forum where all the N G Os presently working on HIV/AIDS and TB meet to give their monthly report or update on their activities.

One of the challenges all the organizations face in the fight against HIV/AIDS in all the communities they serve is that most of the people don't come out when they hear that the program is on HIV/AIDS, unless some other incentives like the distribution of malaria drugs, long lasting treated mosquito nets, multi-vitamin drug e t c., are part of the programme. Some people don't want to hear that word HIV, it is as if you are bringing it to their homes. Yet, some members of their families are victims of HIV/AIDS. Prejudice and concerns about people's reactions make many HIV positive people afraid to be open about it. Therefore, it can be very difficult ti tell family members, relatives and friends that one is HIV positive. Consequently, many suffer in silence. The silence and stigma surrounding this pandemic is one of the major drivers of its spread and persistence. It is the responsibility of every community member to create an Environment in which epidemics do not occur. HIV/AIDS is real and anyone can be infected and it must be prevented from infecting new people and those who are already victims must be supported. We all have a responsibility to contribute in reducing the spreading of HIV and prejudices surrounding it. HIV/AIDS is no longer a death sentence as it was at its inception. Those bearing this virus can still with information and medication live normal and long lives. Living with HIV in this case is like living with a chronic disease which requires life-long medication. Although, there is no cure for HIV but today's effective medication will prevent the HIV from developing into AIDS. The medications will reduce the levels of the virus in the body to practically zero. HIV is also in this case no longer life threatening and can in principle not be transferred to others. Our discrimination against them needs to stop. The fight to eradicate HIV/AIDS should be the concern of everyone especially in Africa, the epicenter of HIV/AIDS epidemic. By talking about it, you can help break the silence, prejudices and discrimination.

SAID is on the second phase of its two-year project on Community Mobilization, Campaign to End MTCT: Prevention from Mother to Child Transmission HIV (PMTCT) in 18 Communities in Imo State. SAID radio jingle is on air at Heartland Fm station. We are helping to create a HIV free culture and society. Stay safe and enjoy healthy life.
Anthony Onyebuchi