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HIV/AIDS CURE DECEPTION:Man was cajoled into believing that if he married virgins he will be cured of the scourge.
Adama Sambo:Poverty is making members spread the virus

Elders in the association of people living with HIV /AIDS (NEPWAN) in Kaduna state are worried over a certain trend among members: they are spreading the disease around the state. The elders blame particularly female members of the association, who for reasons of poverty and lack of empowerment, are now giving back the affliction which the society gave to them.

Young girls, who are living with HIV/AIDS, according to the elders, during an interaction with our correspondent on Monday, said the trend if not checked will double the number of people living with the scourge in Kaduna state in short time.

‘’With one pack of pasta noodles and few eggs, young girls allow men to sleep, with them’’, said Adama Sambo, chairperson of ‘’Allah Ya Yarda’’, one of HIV/AIDS support groups based in the state. These girls don’t ask that their partner use any protective cover, she said. Because they are on antiretroviral (ARV)drugs, you cannot know from their faces that they are carrying the virus. They look as healthy as any other person around; they dress well, and are attractive to men; they offer free sex.

‘’Let me correct this impression, these girls who are within 14-20years are not doing it because they want to spread the scourge; they are doing it because of poverty. Kaduna state government is seeing to the provision of drugs, but it is not providing food. To meet their food need, the young girls are now exchanging sex for food,’’she said

Sambo said the association had discussed with the young girls at a recent meeting and urged them to desist from the act, but that the girls said they bad no alternative.

Speaking further, she said: ‘’some of these girls got the virus not as a result of promiscuity, but by accident.’’Recently, a man who is positive deliberately married two young girls because somebody told him that if he married virgins he will be cured of the disease. This happened in Maraban Jos, Kaduna.The man was receiving ARV drugs at the Barau Dikko Specialist Hospital here in Kaduna, and the young girls have contacted the disease. ‘’They are now positive. This is quite a deception. It is evil’’, she lamented.

‘’Still, there are those who got it through their parents -mother to baby transmission. We have grown-up orphans among us who inherited the virus from their parents. Now, they are grown-up and are getting retroviral drugs from the government, but they have to get food for themselves, they have no employment, the only way they can get food is to exchange their bodies for it. Because of their status the girls don’t insist on the use of condom.’’

Adama who is popularly known among HIV-positive people in Kaduna as A.D.Mama, appealed to the government to include feeding among the package offered their members .She also advocated for the employment of qualified members into government agencies.She commented the state gokvernment for rgular supply of antiretroviral drugs to members,but she regretted that the disease is spreading on an alarming rate.Worse still,girls are  giving birth to infected children.

‘’Because of their status, if they give birth, some of dump their babies in waste sites or any public place. I have two children who were dumped because of their status. They were three but one of them died recently,’ she said.

Another leader of the association,Liatu Elkana,emphasized the need for the government to establish orphanage homes for the abandoned children who are living with HIV/AIDS in the state. In addition to the free ARV drugs, government should also provide free treatment for malaria, tuberculosis,and typhoid to them.’ Most of our members are dying from mainly three diseases, namely:malaria,tuberculosis,and typhoid fever –and not even HIV/AIDS. We have sufficient antiretroviral drugs in the state and we are getting it regularly, but our people are being knocked down by those three diseases,’ she said.

But, the Executive Secretary of the Kaduna State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS (KADSACA),Mr.Patrick Katuka has faulted the claim that young girls were spreading the disease due to poverty. He insisted that there is substantial progress in curtailing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Kaduna. ‘Don’t allow people to use you to blackmail the government because of their selfish interest. I know all those people that you mentioned..Yes, they are positive people but what they are saying is not true.

He said that the government is doing a lot on the plight of people living HIV/AIDS. He said due to regular campaigns and sensitization, people are more enlightened about the scourge, and they know what to do to avoid it. He said in Kaduna, government has reduced the prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS from 7 percent in 2008 to 5.1 in 2010.

Mrs Liatu Elkana says their HIV/AIDS carriers are doing barter with sex
Executive Secretary,KADSACA,Mr.Patrick Katuka:The scourge is on the downside in Kaduna.

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