Dr Marietu Binkola, Project Manager, Edo State Agency for the Control of HIV and AIDs (EDO-SACA), has said that 16,000 people in the state are living with HIV virus.

Binkola made this known at a forum to mark the 2016 International Aids Candle Light Memorial held in Auchi, Etsako West Local Government Area of the state on Sunday.

The International Aids Candlelight Memorial is celebrated to remember all those who had died of HIV and AIDS.
During the ceremony, names of the deceased are usually read out by a cross section of communities, families and partners.

“We have about 16,000 people living with HIV and AIDS in Edo state.
“The state government is committed to the funding of HIV and AIDs and to see that this figure is reduced to the barest minimum," she said.

Binkola said that articulated vehicles parks were considered some of the “hot spots” where drivers engaged in high act of immorality, adding that the agency would intensify campaign on the disease.

She said billboards on HIV would be sited at every of such parks in the state to further sensitise people to the scourge.

“All kinds of people stand at a disadvantage on the question of HIV and AIDS; so, what we do is we sensitize, we distribute condoms.
“HIV testing and counselling is free and we teach them how to use it and use it properly," she said.

Binkola called for attitudinal change towards the disease and advised the public to stop discrimination against those living with the disease in order to reduce its spread.