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US Ambassador, Rivers State Governor Discuss SURGE project


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U.S Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, has visited Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, to discuss the SURGE project aimed at placing at least 170,166 people living with HIV on treatment.

The SURGE project, implemented by the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), is being executed in over 200 health facilities in the 23 Local Government Areas of the state to ensure that close to 200,000 out of the 210,000 estimated number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the state know their status.

During the visit, the Ambassador urged the public to get tested for HIV. “If your family members have a chance to get tested and if they find out they have it, the cure is there in the treatment,” he said.

imagesHe also said, “Under the leadership of this government in partnership with the United States Government, the people of Rivers have a chance to do something extra ordinary for each other, the state, Nigeria and the world, and that is to find people that have HIV, and make sure they get on treatment. That is the point of this visit today; a surge, something that hasn’t been done by anybody, can be done here.”

Governor Nyesom Wike, who received the Ambassador and his delegation, thanked the US Government for their contribution towards fighting HIV in the state. “What the team is doing in order to eradicate HIV is so important…we are so glad that we are your partners and we would continue to do what we are supposed to do because health is key and education is key. With education, we would be able to talk to people to understand implications of HIV. We have over 115 sites for PMTCT as a result of the support and we are willing to spend more of whatever resources we have.”

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Dr. Mahesh Swaminathan, IHVN Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Patrick Dakum and IHVN Chief Operating Officer/Managing Director, Mr. Charles Mensah, Rivers SURGE Project Director, Olayemi Olupitan, were also present at the visit.

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