Gombe State addresses drug abuse among people living with HIV/AIDS in Gombe State

By Williams Ago, Gombe

The problem of drug abuse by People Living With HIV/AIDS is now being addressed by the Gombe State Agency for the Control of AIDS (GOMSACA) in collaboration with some major stakeholders in the State.

The Programme Manager of GOMSACA, Hassan Mohammed, told our correspondent during an interview on the sidelines of a stakeholders meeting aimed at improving HIV/AIDS response in Gombe State, held at Emerald Hotel, Gombe that new developments are coming up on how to help some of these people living with HIV/AIDS reduce the harm they are facing as a result of the reckless use of drugs.

According to him, some of them could be seen with big wounds on their arms, hands or legs and these could be as a result of using different parts of their bodies to inject themselves, even their private parts, he revealed.

He stated that the meeting also discussed on gender and human rights issues, cases of abandoned children, rape among others where major stakeholders, including the police come together to assist victims.

He explained that some of these victims are people living with HIV/AIDS and measures are taken towards improving the HIV/AIDS response in the State.

"This meeting is on drug users, there is an introduction of a drug called 'Mat'. It's a medical assisted therapy for those who are using drugs. So, we are now sensitizing the stakeholders.

"These stakeholders will now take the message to the society. It's a voluntary pilot programme that will be launched in January. It will focus on harm reduction", he stated.

Hassan Mohammed also explained the active role the Gombe State government has been playing in HIV/AIDS response, stressing that the State is next to Lagos State in this regard.

"Gombe State has become a centre where people talk about the manner HIV/AIDS is tackled. We're moving to a critical situation whereby there is a transition from donor driven to government driven.

"We're sensitizing the people that donors are going and government is taking over HIV/AIDS response and how do we now come in to sustain the gains on HIV/AIDS response in the absence of donor agencies?

"We have confidence that the State Government will sustain the gains of HIV AIDS response in Gombe", he assured.

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