Abuja, 9th August 2019 — As Muslim faithful’s celebrate the Eid-el-Kabir all over the world, it is important to reflect on the significance of this celebration and its lesson as it relates to HIV/AIDS Prevention, Treatment and Care.
The National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) saddled with responsibilities of coordinating the HIV/AIDS multi sectorial response in Nigeria, will like to use the opportunity of this important celebration in the Islamic calendar to ask Nigerians to reflect on the lessons of sacrificing one’s most precious thing in the way of God’s command. If Nigerians obey the command of God, the HIV epidemic in Nigeria will become a thing of the past, as pre-marital sex, extra marital affairs and casual sex among young people will not be happening as we learn and become educated regarding dangers engaging in risky behaviors during festive season.
Also reflecting on the significance of this day on showing love and happiness to one another in obedience to Almighty Allah will allow us to show love and care to those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS. The level of Stigma and discrimination against persons living with HIV/AIDS is worrisome. Showing love and care to those infected and affected will encourage more Nigerians to get tested and treated and allow many people to be more open about their HIV status thereby making the disease less frightening and dreaded. This will also make the fight against HIV easier since the more people get treated for HIV the less others get infected and affected by HIV.
As true servants of Allah, we are expected to protect our neighbors as much as we protect ourselves. Doing this as it relates to HIV/AIDS is to get tested for HIV virus, do all that is necessary to remain negative if tested negative, commence immediate treatment if tested positive so that others don’t get the virus from you, avoid Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV virus by encouraging all pregnant mothers to attend Antenatal clinics and ensure they give birth in government approved designated hospitals or with trained birth attendants. Adherence to treatment reduces the level of HIV in the blood to below detection which prevents transmission to others.
The sacrifice and sharing of ram and other related animals is significant in the celebration of Eid-Kabir and so should we imbibe this lesson; to share correct and factual information on HIV/AIDS among our friends, family, peers, and community members. This remains the only avenue to reduce ignorance about the disease and ensure we all are equipped with information to prevent HIV infection be ensuring Treatment Care and Support of Persons Living with the virus.
The Director General of NACA, Dr Gambo Aliyu wishes all Muslims in Nigeria and indeed the around the world a happy Eid-el-Kabir celebration. Dr Aliyu said ‘’ Imbibing the lessons that come with this festive period can help eliminate stigma and discrimination against persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS which is needed to end AIDS epidemic in Nigeria’’.
Signed: Dr. Gambo Aliyu
Director General, NACA