By G9ija

Mr Marcus Williams of the Association for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Nigeria (AFOVCN) on Friday called for increased advocacy and awareness to demystify HIV in Nigeria.

Williams made the call in an interview with the reporters in Abuja while speaking on the way forward as the World AIDS Day is commemorated globally.

He said that awareness was imperative in achieving a desirable reduction in stigma and discrimination in the country.

“We must facilitate capacity building for local structures towards eliminating stigma and discrimination,” Williams said.

The NGO’s leader said that increased and unhindered access to HIV treatment and care was also necessary for eliminating the epidemic.

According to him, we must give unbiased access to care and treatment for all population groups which will allow for increased uptake and reduce disease burden.

Williams, who restated the imperatives of advocacy, said that there was a need for project planning and implementation.

He explained that people living with HIV and key population should be cared for and treated within their own communities.

Williams said: “We must take 100 per cent ownership of all HIV prevention interventions. We must build the capacity of local institutions and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to own the responsibility.”

He urged government at all levels to prioritise the response for adequate budgetary allocation.