The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) in collaboration with the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor (ALCO) has commenced its sensitization campaign on prevention of HIV/AIDS for ports users and truck drivers.
The campaign which usually holds every quarter aims at encouraging port users especially truck drivers to know their HIV status and prevention methods as well as recommend treatment for positive cases.
Speaking with newsmen at the venue of the campaign held at the Tin Can Island Port Wednesday, Chairperson for the NPA/ALCO project, Dr. Comfort Datong said knowing the HIV status is the first step in preventing the spread of the virus.
She noted that transport workers were highly vulnerable to the disease due to the nature of their job but complained that most of them were not willing to take advantage of the free screening to know their HIV status for fear of the unknown.
“The reason for the vulnerability is that they spend lengthy period of time away from their homes and families and experience extensive delays at borders and ports. They therefore engage the services of commercial sex workers.
“The truck drivers are very difficult to deal with. Many of them are afraid to come out for the test. So what I tell them is that if they hide away, it will manifest and at that point they cannot hide again when everybody will know they have the virus,” she said.
Dr. Datong said the NPA HIV/AIDS awareness campaign has recorded a lot of achievements as according to her, the rate of new positive cases have reduced indicating that more people were being sensitized on the prevention methods.
On positive cases detected, she said “we refer them to referral centres; we have such centres everywhere in Lagos even here in Apapa.”
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