The organisers of the Access Bank Lagos City Marathon have partnered with a private firm, Hacey, to provide awareness and support for people based on their HIV/AIDS status and also provide necessary details on how to manage the risk factors. Hacey, a developmental health organisation that focuses on improving the health and productivity of undeserved people, especially women in Nigeria, is present at the Marathon Games Village.
Hacey at the games village at the volleyball court, Teslim Balogun Stadium, Surulere, is providing support and a free HIV/AIDS test for the intending runners. The project manager, Hacey, Mr. Bamidele Oyewumi, noted in an exclusive interview that the programme being handled by his organisation has a target to reach out to more than one-third of the runners, providing them with information about HIV/AIDS and its management.
''For this year, we are in partnerships with the organisers of the marathon to provide and implement free HIV screening for the marathoners. One of our major goals is to ensure that one-third of the Marathoners know their status.
''The theme of this year's race is ''Run to End HIV'' because, according to available statistics, HIV/AIDS is growing rapidly among young people because of their increasing sexual activities.
''While sexual activities are on the increase, reproductive health education is not meeting up with the numbers, so we are using this means to sensitise the people on how to stop the trend, '' he said.
Oyewumi also said that the programme would target over 85 percent of the runners, providing them with first-hand information on how to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS.
''We want the larger percentage to get tested to know their status and arm them with information about everything they need to know about the deadly disease HIV/AIDS.
''People need to know how they can also contract HIV/AIDS apart from sexual activities, which include blood transfusion, blood screening, and inappropriate handling of sharp objects, among others. We also supply materials containing information about HIV/AIDS for all they need to know. Those with HIV/AIDS are sometimes healthier if they follow their health regimen properly.”
''HIV/AIDS-positive people can participate in the marathon, and we even want to encourage them to run because they are sometimes healthier than those who are negative because of the antiviral drugs that they are using,'' he said.
Oyewumi then advised the people to know their status and take responsibility for their risk factors to ensure a healthy lifestyle. The 2024 Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10.