Picture Above: IHVN Senior Program Officer, Prevention Care and Treatment, Mrs Helen Mutong, conducting a counseling session to recruit a client for cervical cancer screening at General Hospital Karshi.
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN) has screened 25,175 women living with HIV for cervical cancer from 2020 to 2022 and treated more than 700 women with precancerous lesions.
IHVN Chief Executive Officer, Dr Patrick Dakum, stated this at a sensitization program to mark World Cancer Day held at the Institute in Abuja.
Dr Dakum, who was represented by the IHVN Director Prevention, Care and Treatment, Dr Helen Omuh said that,
“about 40 to 50% of the over 374,000 people living with HIV supported by the Institute are women between 25 and 49 years who have a six-fold risk of developing cervical cancer.”
She added that the Institute is committed to ensuring that individuals and communities have equitable access to quality care and treatment.
“IHVN will continue to contribute towards closing the care gap for cancer prevention and treatment in Nigeria,” she said.
Two mothers living with HIV who have benefitted from the cervical cancer screening program, said that they were informed about the screening in the hospitals where they access care.
Both 41 year old Blessing John (pseudonym) and Grace who access HIV care at National Hospital Abuja and Primary Health Center Kuje said that the free cervical cancer screening provided by IHVN was a relief.
“The first time I heard about cervical cancer screening I was unable to do it because of the cost but when IHVN started carrying out cervical cancer screening, I was able to get screened. When I hesitated because I was afraid, I was counseled before and after the screening,” Blessing said.
Both Blessing and Grace are now an advocates for cervical cancer screening. They participated in the “Close the Care Gap” sensitization program organized by the International Research Center of Excellence (IRCE) at IHVN to commemorate World Cancer Day.
At the event, presentations were made by experts on cancer advocacy, clinical care, community engagement and nutrition.