Five persons were on Wednesday confirmed to have tested positive to the HIV/AIDS virus in some of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. Speaking to journalists in Maiduguri, the leader of a non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Business and Professional Women, Dr. Ismaila Watila, revealed that out of 1,000 people tested in the camp, five persons were found to be positive. He said the 1,000 IDPs were screened for Malaria and HIV/AIDS.

“We are conducting free screening for IDPs on HIV, Malaria and other disease conditions. The programme is being conducted by the Business and professional Women in conjunction with the National Agency for Control of Aids (NACA) and the Sure P.” He said the object of the exercise was to find out the health status of the IDPs and prevent disease spread among them. “We started on Monday and so far we have screened over 1,000 out of the 8,000 IDPs in the camp. Out of these only five have tested positive to HIV/AIDS,” he said.

Watila added that the number represented 0.5 per cent of the population of those screened at the camp. Statistically, the number appeared insignificant as it represents just about 0.5 percent of those screened.

“But as a doctor, I see the number as alarming, because it is a dangerous trend,” he said. Watila added that the affected IDPs had already been counseled and referred for treatment.

He explained that: “What we do usually is to treat those who tested positive to Malaria and other diseases immediately. Those who tested positive to HIV/AIDS will be counseled and transferred to the State Specialists Hospital for proper medication.” Watila said that the team was also conducting campaigns for the IDPs on the need to maintain a healthy living. “We also conduct education campaigns on the IDPs camps to enlighten them on how to play safe. The whole thing is to reduce the prevalence of disease condition in the camps,’’ he said.

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