The Association of Positive Youths living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (APIN) says the strike by Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) has led to the death of some of its members due to treatment complications.
Mr Isah Mohammed, the National Coordinator of APIN, disclosed this during the National Consultation on positive masculinities and femininity with adolescents and young people in faith communities organised by Christian Council of Nigeria on Friday in Abuja.
Mohammed said the association has just buried one of its active female members, who died on Saturday May 19, as a result of treatment complication that led to kidney failure.
“Before her death we have been running helter-skelter to various stakeholders in Osun State; this is just one person out of so many people that died avoidable death.
“We believe that the strike must be called off, because life of Nigerians matters. For us as people living with HIV, we have just buried one of our own yesterday.
“It is a hard pill to swallow because she was just 15 years with a lot of promise, but now she is gone meaning that many die in their numbers,’’ Mohammed said.
The national coordinator noted that the members of the association were able to get drugs at some tertiary health facilities through the intervention of development partners.
He said he has not received any confirmation on whether the primary healthcare centres across the country are dispensing drugs to people living with HIV.
However, Mohammed lamented that nobody has received CD4 and viral load tests since the commencement of the strike.
“Anybody that is conversant with HIV management knew that CD4 testing and viral load testing is the only way to monitor progress on treatment.
“If you don’t monitor progress how do you know if someone is failing on treatment or having challenges on adherence?
“This strike is biggest single bottleneck and as people living with HIV and AIDS we call the Federal Ministry of Health to be responsible and honour its commitment,’’ he said.
On the meeting, Mohammed said the summit aimed to bridge the gap between adults, adolescent and young people.
He noted that the summit provided an opportunity for young people’s voices to be heard and mainstream their opinions into national discourse and policy formulations.
“We will not deny the fact that we are African society; in an African society decision making always had adult face.
“It is very important for the voices of adolescent and young people to be mainstreamed into the decision making even though it will be taken by adults as the adults.
“They (adults) need to understand our vulnerabilities, current gender issues and the impacts of these issues with regards to HIV and AIDS,” he said.